Establishing boundaries in your life is a great way of respecting and protecting yourself. Boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we put in place to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used or violated.
Boundaries are necessary for good mental health. They provide healthy limits to what you are willing to do.
How do you set effective boundaries? 1. Know yourself 2. Be flexible 3. Stay out of judgement—practice having healthy compassion without the need to “fix” others 4. Let go of judgement about yourself. 5. Accept the truth in what others say and leave the rest.
For example, one boundary I often have is how much noise I’m willing to put up with. If I go to a party and the noise level rises above what I will accept, I leave the party. So I have decided and what I value, the consequence (leaving). I don’t get angry, I just acknowledge that my boundary has been crossed and effect the consequence.
Boundaries are also very helpful when you have toxic people in your life. I have a friend that has to maintain strict boundaries with her family. They try to cross her boundaries and each time she sends them packing. She has made up her mind what she will put up with and, because she has good self esteem, she is quite good at enforcing her boundaries.
You will find that some people respect your boundaries, but some don’t. This is when you need to stand strong and firm…you are fighting for yourself and you deserve to be happy.
All you need to say is, “I don’t feel like doing that today” or “I don’t feel like doing that at all”. Or, “It’s not good for my mental health to do what you’re suggesting.”
If you encounter someone that does not respect your boundaries, you may find that you’re better off without them.
I have boundaries at various levels. My most serious boundary is with my father. I don’t want any contact with him. He is not allowed to enter my life at all. That is my only “no fucking way” boundary. Then I have boundaries with friends and acquaintances. But these boundaries mainly involve how much time I spend with people.
By setting boundaries, you can feel more control over your life and who is in it. Boundaries are a way of respecting ourselves and treating ourselves with compassion.
O’Brien, Kelly, “Six Steps to Set Good Boundaries, http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-1317616/steps-to-set-good-boundaries
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