What do you do to maintain your personal boundaries? If you are like many women, you often don't.
Boundaries are the limits you set for what you expect from a person and will allow for yourself in how they treat you. Personal boundaries apply to any area of life. Many people understand boundaries for personal space in their culture, but personal boundaries also apply to time, energy, sexuality, and more.
Some believe that setting and holding boundaries is dangerous to relationships. In fact, the opposite is actually true. Healthy boundaries benefit relationships by communicating what is and is not acceptable for each person. There are times where others cannot honor our personal boundaries, though, because we ourselves have not acknowledged or set those boundaries to begin with.
In order to experience the freedom that comes from setting personal boundaries, you do not have to start out as an expert. Simply practice implementing your own personal boundaries. You will be a boundaries pro in no time! This will help you reclaim and feel control over your own life.
1. What do you VALUE?
Answering this question is the first step in knowing what boundaries will be important to you. Your views on your time, being given freedom to choose, personal space, on how others speak to you and how they treat you are a perfect jumping-off point to see which boundaries you choose to set and where you want to set them. It is a good idea to start small and simple. Once you have created and practiced a boundary, you will feel empowered to continue.
2. Listen to your Gut
This gets dismissed far too often. If someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable, threatened, or dismissed, it is likely that your personal boundaries have been crossed. And you may not know that you are feeling those things explicitly, but you may notice a racing heartbeat, clammy hands, or a tightness in your chest and throat. These physical symptoms of discomfort can also be good indicators that we are feeling our boundaries being crossed.
3. Hold the Line
Once boundaries are identified and you know what it feels like to have your boundaries crossed, it is time to stand up for yourself. You are allowed to say "No." Believe that. You are allowed to assert yourself and ask that your boundaries be respected. If you have been passive about this in the past, you should expect some pushback from those who are accustomed to disregarding your desires--and sometimes they do not even know it. Maintain your boundary this time, and next time it will be easier. You will have practiced, so it will be easier for you. And the other person will know that you have set and enforced a boundary, so they will learn to respect you and your boundary. If not, it may be time to reevaluate that relationship.
4. Set Consequences
In the cases where you do have someone who is not respecting your boundaries, you need to be willing to communicate that you and your boundaries should be respected. In a loving relationship, this is mutual and healthy. In most situations, when you establish a boundary, you will be pleasantly surprised to see that those who love you respect you even more with healthy boundaries in place. When that does not happen, it is our responsibility to stay steadfast with our boundaries. Sometimes this means communication with the person, and sometimes it can mean stepping away, either temporarily or more long-term.
It is common to think that since we are setting personal boundaries, we must do this thing alone. In reality, sharing the boundaries that you have set with your friends and family can be a helpful step to take. You can tell them why you set your boundaries and how this will help you. It is also helpful to understand the boundaries of others. This not only informs how we treat them, but it also can inspire us in setting our own healthy boundaries.
Here's to you setting boundaries that honor you and what is important to you. One step at a time in that direction, and you will be a boundary flexing phenom soon! Our community of ladies supporting each other as we keep all the plates spinning would love to welcome you. We chat on healthy relationships, eating well, motivation, gratitude, and truly so much more. Hop on over here and say hi!