Boundaries for ourselves are important, they are a vital part of our self-care. A boundary is a clear way of letting people know how you want to be treated and what you can offer. To be effective, boundaries need to be flexible and adaptable, not rigid a metaphorical wall that’s impossible to climb.
Healthy boundaries are important in our relationships for several reasons. It allows you to have your own feelings and make your own decisions. It helps you to know what you want and to ask for what you want, without needing to please others.
Healthy boundaries mean you can value your feelings and needs and begin to understand that your needs may be different from those around you.
Unhealthy boundaries may mean you prioritise others over yourself all the time or perhaps saying no to others causes you distress. What this means is your beliefs are based on others being important and you are not, and to be valued by others you must say yes all the time.
Why are healthy boundaries important?
Healthy boundaries stop you from overextending yourself. You can’t help everyone and you are not responsible for everyone. This means saying no to things that don’t feel right or comfortable. You are allowed to say no.
Boundaries help to create realistic expectations of yourself and others. Whether it’s a friend, partner or family member, relationships function best when we know what’s expected. This involves clear communication and honesty. When expectations are not communicated and met, resentment and anger can grow.
Sometimes we can stop ourselves setting boundaries, perhaps through fear because it’s scary not knowing how someone else will react, or you don’t know how to as perhaps you grew up in a family without boundaries.
Wanting to please people and not upset ‘the way of things’ to avoid conflict, or some part of you tells you other people are more important can stop you setting healthy boundaries. It can be a slow process to implement boundaries as you learn to navigate how much value you bring to to those around you. This is something I help so many clients I work with; how we treat ourselves and the relationship we have with ourselves.
Sometimes setting a boundary will disrupt relationships, you will get resistance because those around you are not used to it. It is important to highlight safety, where there are times trying to set a healthy boundary may put you in danger so talk to someone you trust or call 0808 2000 247, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline.
Tips for implementing boundaries.
- Saying no straight off can feel impossible, re-phrase it. For example, I can’t do that right now but I can next week or I can’t help you with that as I’m just not up to it.
- Be honest with yourself and others, only offer to rearrange or help out with something if you intend on keeping to that.
- Practice affirmations daily such as “I am worthy” to build self-esteem and belief within you. My new lovingly created affirmation cards showing beautiful nature spaces feature powerful “I am” statements to help support you unlock your worth. Pre order here.