Boundaries would seem to be a very simple concept—after all, we see boundary landmarks all the time and understand them perfectly.
“Do Not Cross”
They are clear and make sense—not so?
So why is it that we struggle with enforcing our own personal emotional and physical boundaries?
If you are someone who grew up in a household where your privacy wasn’t respected, it might be difficult to set boundaries with roommates or partners.
If you had a partner who used to disregard your feelings about certain behaviours, you may struggle to believe that a future partner won’t behave in the same way.
If your boundaries have changed with your life experiences, you may struggle to communicate them to people who you have known for a long time.
If you are having a hard time identifying what your boundaries are, the idea of establishing them might perhaps seem impossible.
There are all sorts of anxiety related to the setting and maintaining of boundaries, and that is understandable! You are not the only one.
Why are they important?
Boundaries are important because they are necessary for every interpersonal relationship we have and that includes WITH OURSELVES.
I will be doing a video recording that is more in depth about boundaries and ideas of how to apply them—this is just a summary.
Possible barriers to setting boundaries:
- You worry about hurting the other person’s feelings
- You have been made to feel bad about setting boundaries
- You lack insight and awareness of your boundaries
Steps to setting healthy boundaries:
- Identify what your needs and boundaries are
- Communicate your boundaries
- Practice it often
- Acknowledge and allow/endure/tolerate, the emotions involved in setting boundaries:
- A big part of keeping your boundary practice consistent relies on having a tolerance of your emotions. Specifically, if setting boundaries makes you feel anxious or uncomfortable, learning to tolerate these emotions is a necessary part of the journey.
- Engage in self-care
It is helpful to remember that some of our boundaries can change throughout our lives and give ourselves permission to be constantly curious about ourselves. Holding judgment about what our boundaries are or why they might be changing isn’t helpful as rather be open minded to exploring our emotions and experiences.
We may want to seek the support of a coach as we process our boundaries and work on setting and upholding them.
Having a support network is always beneficial—we as humans weren’t meant to go it alone. Beginning a new behaviour is always tricky. Sticking with a change takes work. Don’t be hard on yourself—revisit your motivation and the tools you have at your disposal regularly, and strive for progress, even if it’s slow.
Remember that boundaries are necessary and that you are not asking too much of anyone to respect them.
Be Safe … Be YOU
Coach Karin Kelly