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Some People Excel at Setting Boundaries, and Others Don’t – Which One Are You?

Blog, Growth

November 26, 2019

Do you ever wonder why some people in your life have no problem setting boundaries, and you do? Do you ever think if your life would be different if you created healthy boundaries?

If boundaries were comfortable for us to create, then the majority of humans would have healthy relationships. Since this isn’t the case, we must look at our ability or difficulty setting boundaries with the people in our lives.

I’ll share with you why you need to care about boundaries, what they are, how to create them, and why you need to excel at them.

Why do you need to care about boundaries?

As if you don’t have enough to worry about, now you’re being asked to look at boundaries. Many people don’t realize that when you establish boundaries with the people in your life, it makes things much more manageable.

Think of boundaries as invisible walls that you create to protect yourself. This isn’t the same thing as the walls you create as a defense mechanism. Boundaries are how we teach people how to treat us. These same boundaries also show people what we will accept and not accept in our lives.

If you don’t have boundaries, then you are leaving yourself open to being treated anyway a person desires to treat you. A lack of boundaries can lead you to accept and remain in dysfunctional relationships.

What are boundaries?

If you have low self-esteem or a lack of confidence, you may not have healthy boundaries. For example, if you are in a toxic friendship or relationship, then your view of yourself may be that you can’t do better, so you settle for dysfunction.

When this happens, you may fear to lose this person, even though it’s not healthy for you, having someone is better than having no one. This example of unhealthy behavior shows that you have weak boundaries, and it’s a reflection of how you feel about yourself.

Here are a few examples of boundaries:

  1. I am an individual within my relationship and will not be codependent upon my partner.
  2. I won’t allow other others to abuse or mistreat me. 
  3. I won’t stay in relationships that cause me harm.
  4. I won’t remain in toxic friendships.
  5. I will speak up for my needs and wants in all relationships.

Creating boundaries with people in your life can be difficult because it requires you to speak your truth. It’s common to experience fear when you have to create a boundary because the person in your life may not like what you are doing and may decide to end the relationship. Often, it’s fear that keeps people stuck in dysfunction.

How to create boundaries that work?

Now that you realize why it’s crucial to set boundaries, it’s time to get started. Here are a few examples of techniques to use when setting boundaries:

  1. Saying ‘no’ to request upon your time.
  2. Stating ‘no’ without having to provide a reason or excuse.
  3. Announcing that you won’t be a part of arguments then removing yourself from the situation.
  4. Giving a deadline or timeframe due to a need you have.
  5. Removing yourself from an environment that isn’t healthy for you without creating an apology.

Here are the steps to get started in creating boundaries:

  1. Make a list of the boundaries you want in your relationships. Include personal, professional, friendships, and family relationships. Be sure to be specific when listing your needs.
  2. Review your list of boundaries and circle the five that are most important for you at this time. 
  3. Rewrite the five most important ones again. Next, identify what you need to do to set a boundary in each of these situations. 
  4. Begin to practice these first five boundaries. Give yourself grace, and don’t expect to be perfect.
  5. Continue to repeat the boundaries until they become a habit.

Why you need to excel at setting boundaries?

Your emotional, physical, and mental health depends on your ability to create boundaries in every aspect of your life. If you don’t have boundaries, then you subject yourself to be treated, however the person around you wants to treat you.

Your time has come to be a person that excels at boundaries. You decide who you spend time with, so choose wisely. At any time, you can limit or end the time you spend with others regardless of the type of relationship you are in with them.

To continue to improve your relationships, you have to focus on what you can change. By setting healthy boundaries, you are designing the relationships that you desire. If someone doesn’t respect or rejects your boundary, then they are showing you how they feel about you.

Remember to watch how people treat you versus what they tell you. You deserve health and happiness, but it’s your responsibility to create it. Every boundary you create will get you one step closer to the life you desire.

Be the person that excels at setting boundaries. Your future self will thank you. What is your number one tip for setting boundaries? Share in the comment section below.

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A clinical sexologist and psychotherapist. From sex/intimacy, personal growth, and relationships, I am here to help you every step of the way.

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