Setting Healthy Boundaries

Protect yourself from being taken advantage of and strengthen your relationships

Boundary Setting

Do you ever feel like you do not know where you begin and another person ends? Are you the rescuer type? Do you constantly feel worn out and suffocated? Boundary setting is something you may need to work on if you can identify with those statements. 

First of all, when you try to set boundaries, do not do it when you are angry. You are more likely to go overboard and set your partner a task of cleaning the kitchen every day for a whole year (if you know what I mean!!) It is helpful to use very few words and be specific when you communicate so he or anyone else you're working on boundary setting does not feel attacked. Avoid rationalising, and apologising. Do not feel ashamed or afraid when you set boundaries too. Also, learn to listen closely to yourself. Do not let the barrier of shame restrict you from taking care of yourself. If you feel victimised, suffocated, or threatened by others, you need to pay attention to what your body is telling you.

Sometimes, others may not like the new "You" because they feel defeated and may not be able to manipulate you or push your buttons. That is their issue and part of boundary setting is not taking that on as your problem too. You may want to specify consequences and give ultimatums in order to enforce the boundaries - what is it that is and is not acceptable about your parent/partner/friends behaviour?

A certain type of readiness is needed to be able to set boundaries. If you are not ready, you will not be able to enforce it either. It is connected to your growth and insight and as soon as you realise that there is a need for it and you cannot tolerate other people negatively impacting your life you will be ready to enforce it. Learn to identify what you like and don't like and what brings you pleasure so you will start engaging in self-nurturing activities and will not feel guilty if you take care of your needs. Once you form a healthy boundary, you will notice that you will be able to enjoy and experience life more.

You'll be able to feel happy knowing that these limits you're setting are not to harm people but they are there to take care of YOU. After all, studies have shown that people feel more comfortable in the presence of people with healthy boundaries. Boundaries help us to develop intimate relationships so once you set them you'll see that you blossom into maturity too and you're able to handle relationships with more ease too. Healthy boundaries help us to withstand manipulation and empower us to welcome the good things into our lives!

Do you have any stories to share about your own boundary setting experiences too? Often the healing is found in feeling like you're not alone too.

Lisa De Regt, MBPsS

Lisa is a licensed mental health counselor with an eclectic style of therapy to fit every client's needs.

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