Boundaries make for great relationships.
If you’re feeling good, safe, expansive and happy about your social interactions, whether or not you know it, you’ve got your boundaries figured out. Keep it up!
And if you’re feeling bad, negative, hurt or stifled, even in just one tiny area of a relationship, keep reading. You may find that making small improvements to your limits will make all the difference to – having your needs met more often, living more aligned with your desires and enjoying better connections with others.
So if boundaries are so great, why do we struggle with them?
There are so many reasons, but typically we avoid them because of our fears about what others will think about us if we do; we’ve been conditioned to neglect our needs; we’re not up for the short-term discomfort of setting and maintaining them; or we just want to keep the peace.
Whatever the case, here are 5 cool reminders about boundaries . . .
1) A boundary is a limit you set to what you will or will not do, accept or tolerate from others.
Since you cannot control another person, it’s not about making them behave in a certain way, but about how you will take care of yourself if your requests are unfulfilled.
2) There are at least 6 areas for which you can set limits.
You may want to secure your: physical (body, personal space, time), emotional (feelings about yourself and others), mental (thoughts, beliefs, opinions), spiritual (meaning, purpose, connection to something greater), social (belonging, impact of others) or material (financial, property, belongings) resources.
3) There are 3 levels of boundaries.
Your basic boundaries are your most essential, must-set, past due limits. Your better boundaries are those middle ones that will make life easier and more pleasant. Your bonus boundaries are the ones you’d love but that aren’t essential to your wellness.
4) There are 3 steps to boundary setting.
You recognize your needs, feelings and limits, communicate your desires and plans about how you will take care of yourself and follow through according to how your requests are met. More on these next week!
5) A boundary can improve the relationship between yourself and the other person.
When you’re honest about your needs, the result is a more vulnerable and genuine connection. Not to mention, you want connections with people who want what’s best for you and who can grow together with you through this process. And you can support them with their boundaries too.
Next week, in part 2 of this blog, we’ll get into the ‘How Tos’ of boundaries. Meanwhile in preparation, start thinking about your interactions with other people in your life, especially the areas or situations that elicit ‘negative’ emotions.
How might these be related to crossed boundaries?