Setting boundaries with people you love can sometimes feel like rocket science. I mean just think about it, you have to sit and think about the boundary you want to set and hope that people understand it has nothing to do with them but everything to do with your mental and emotional well-being.
To make matters even worse, nine times out of ten you’re not taught how to set boundaries. You just grow up and start to experience things in life and THEN you decide you need boundaries.
One of the main things I’m always teaching my clients is that creating boundaries should be proactive not reactive. Meaning you should take time often to do a self-assessment and brainstorm some boundaries that might bring more peace into your life and share them with folks. Don’t wait until someone does something and then decide you want to set a boundary. People cannot respect boundaries you don’t set.
The Hardest Part About Setting Boundaries.
Growing up we're taught how to do so many things. How to cook, clean, walk, talk, and care for others. But very rarely are we taught how to set boundaries for the sake of our mental and emotional health. Over time I've realized:
People cannot teach you what they do not know how to practice themselves.
Your boundaries might offend other people which is why you might not be encouraged to set them.
Your boundaries will change over time.
You cannot set boundaries without knowing what boundaries that you truly need to set. If you're not sure where to start, you can start by doing this:
1. Make your boundaries known
I'm not sure who told you that letting people know your limits is a bad idea but it's not. No one is going to going to respect boundaries you don't set. Nor are they going to respect boundaries that you keep setting in silence.
Your boundaries cannot just live in your head. They have to live in your actions as well as the actions of the people around you. Only then will you be able to experience the mental and emotional peace you're seeking in your relationships.
2. Assess your boundaries frequently
Setting boundaries is an on going thing. You don't just set one boundary in 2010 and think you don't have to set any more. As time changes, your needs will change. What brings you peace will change. What's helpful for your mental and emotional peace will change.
It's important that you take the time often to sit down and think of what you need in each season. For example, one thing I like to do is each quarter I will sit down and evaluate what made me happy or what made me feel most loved and supported during that quarter. I'll also look at my projected work load for the quarter and jot down what I think I'll need to be successful.
After this, I made sure to let me friends know "hey I'm in a season where I'll be working a lot so I might need a little more space then usual or I might not be able to respond to text messages as quickly". Doing this has really helped! When my friends text me, they don't get mad if I don't respond instantly. They also even send random words of encouragement since they know I'm working on a lot (and that words of affirmation is my love language). Doing this has allowed me not to feel guilty when I can't show up to an event. It's also allowed me to see that my friends really care about me and are willing to be flexible so I can get through this season.
3. Advocate without fear
No one in this life time is going to advocate for your boundaries like you. And even if they do, people are not going to listen to them. It's up to you to advocate for your needs. And when you're advocating, it's important that you remember it's not about their feelings, it's about your well being. Sometimes people disrespecting your boundaries is their way of telling you that they probably don't care about you as much as you care about them.
If you don't take anything else from this blog, I need you to know that You deserve to live a life style where your boundaries are valued and respected, please don't ever forget this.