Why are Healthy Boundaries Essential
Boundaries are essential to our happiness and mental health. It is therefore crucial that we learn to create healthy boundaries with ourselves and those around us. Much of human conflict and disagreements result from a lack of well-established and defined healthy boundaries. We all need to create healthy boundaries and encourage those around us to do so as well.
Boundaries are essential in our relationships with family members, romantic relationships, normal friendships, workplaces, and any other area of our lives that involve others. To reap the maximum benefits of boundaries, they have to be reciprocated. We must be willing to respect the limitations others have placed in their lives, for others to respect our borders too.
If we set boundaries for ourselves, it is easier to recognize other people’s boundaries and respect them. Here are five steps to creating boundaries.
- Identify the need for boundaries.
Depending on our backgrounds, people set boundaries at different stages and seasons in their lives. People raised in an environment where they are taught boundaries have a high chance of establishing and implementing limits as they grow up. They are good at respecting other people’s borders because they have them and have been taught why they are essential.
Some people identify the need for boundaries the hard way. They realize they need boundaries following exhaustion due to the exploitation that they have experienced. If you feel taken advantage of, then it shows there is a need for boundaries. If you find yourself doing things out of compulsion and sacrificing your comfort and happiness to accommodate another party’s needs, it strongly indicates a lack of healthy boundaries. Assess your life and identify areas and people that you need to set boundaries with. Boundaries help us in building self-confidence.
- List where and who you need to set boundaries.
The first thing/person in setting boundaries with is yourself. We all need to know and understand what our limitations are. What can we do, and what can’t we. Who to hire and fire in our lives depending on the energy they bring to the table.
Some of the areas that need boundaries are our family members, romantic relationships, and marriage with our children, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and everyone else within our environment.
- Draw the exact boundaries.
You will draw boundaries in areas where you feel there are no boundaries or people just chose to overlook them. You will draw the exact boundaries depending on which area of your life you feel exploited. Borders can look like saying no when people expect you to say yes, refusing to go to certain places and invitations no more, being selfish with your time, getting limited with your emotional availability, and much more.
For instance, in the work environment, set the work you can take and under what conditions you are willing to work for extra hours. Limit situations where you are overworked or taking responsibilities that do not belong to you. Covering for an employee is okay, but how often can you do that.
Whether it is in dating, marriage, or even raising kids, we all need some space. The boundaries meant to help you grow and find peace should not be overlooked just because you have a relationship with someone of any kind.
Create healthy boundaries physically and emotionally.
- Communicate your boundaries.
It is not enough to create boundaries and keep them with yourself. You to let them known by those involved. Try and communicate your limits in the friendliest and warm way you can. Communication may be verbal or through actions. Let people note a shift in your behavior, your response towards things and situations, etc.
Be consistent in your communication and implementation of your boundaries, do not waver to accommodate anyone’s feelings or readiness to accept those boundaries.
The truth about setting boundaries is that not everyone will understand you, and that is perfectly okay. People who already have limits will appreciate you and accept them as they are.
- Assess the effectiveness of the boundaries.
The truth about healthy boundaries is that they are meant to be effective for you and not others. Be ready to lose people and to quit positions you never thought you would lose. Those benefiting from your boundaryless life will turn against you and even try to guilt-trip you. If having boundaries and staying committed means losing people, it is perfectly okay.
Surround yourself with people who have set healthy boundaries for their lives. They will keep you accountable and help you in your journey.
In conclusion, boundaries are crucial for our mental health, peace of mind, happiness, and entire well-being. We can be good siblings, children, partners, parents, and co-workers when we have boundaries that bring joy to our lives. Healthy boundaries help us become our better versions, and thus we can become better people to those around us. I would recommend that you read a book on Creating Healthy Boundaries.