Setting Boundaries in your interpersonal relationships has multiple benefits such as:
*Preservation of mental wellness
*Protection from others impeding on your personal space, both physical and emotional
*Prevention of opportunities for mistreatment,
*Reduction of unwanted stress
*Improves the quality of your relationships
*Enhances self-esteem and individuality
*Clears your mind of unnecessary negative thinking
*Simplifies your life
*Builds self-awareness, accountability and decisiveness
These healthy boundaries are necessary in relationships of all kinds including:
*Romantic partners (dating or marriage)
*Family (parent-child, sibling or extended relatives)
*Workplace (employee-employer, colleague-colleague, employee-supervisor; student-teacher)
*Community (neighborhood, religious place of worship or volunteering
*In this step the word partner will be used, but can be substituted for any of the above examples of people to interrelate with.
Care about your relationship as much as your partner does. If your partner is being more enthusiastic, then you be more enthusiastic. If your partner is more distant at times, then pull back the reins, and create some healthy distance. Don’t fret; if the relationship is built on integrity, then it’s not going anywhere. Have faith in your decisions. Be observant in the ebb and flow of your relationship, and generate flexibility on how you relate.
Being overinvolved when your energy is not needed is counterproductive, and being under-involved when it’s time to step it up in the relationship both contribute to unhealthy boundaries.
Think of a relationship as a dance. Your partner steps forward, you take a step back. You take a step forward and your partner takes a step back. This dance creates the right amount of space and distance for each of you to maintain your own “elbow room”.
When your partner is “up in your business” and you are feeling pressured, that is a sign for you to establish your personal boundary. Let your partner know that he/she in invading on your personal boundary, and that you need space. When your partner can recognize that a boundary has been crossed, and acknowledges accountability for being overbearing in some way, and is more respectful of your boundary, you can allow your partner to reenter your safe space.
Separate yourself from others, yes…. It’s time to get selfish! Instead of worrying about letting others down by saying, “no”, say “no” and don’t worry about what others think. Say to yourself, “It’s not my problem”. I call it “NMP”-not my problem.
If you want to please everyone to fit in, climb the workplace or social ladder, avoid being judged, or to receive praise, you are wasting valuable emotional and physical resources by saying “yes”, when you want to say “no”.
Saying “yes” when you really mean to “no” erodes at your self-esteem and identity. It makes you walk away feeling frustrated within yourself that you didn’t speak your mind authentically. Everyone else has figured it out, not it’s time for you to look out for yourself and give of yourself when you feel the time is right. Say “yes” when you have the time and energy to give. Choose “yes” without being bullied into it. Choose “yes” when it’s well deserved by the other party.
Saying “no” saves energy for yourself so that when it’s time to say “yes, you will have built up enough stamina and desire to do so. It commands greater respect from others. Saying “no” will also give others the opportunity to self-empower, mobilize and problem-solve on their own. So you’re actually doing them a great service by saying “no” when the other party can say “yes” to themselves.
Just as others need to respect what we say “no”, we also need to respect when others say “no” to us. We only have control over our actions, not others. Respect for other people’s boundaries is a demonstration of “practicing what we preach”.
Get to know yourself by carving out alone time to get more comfortable in your “own skin”. Convert the feeling of loneliness into celebrating solitude as a vehicle to build inner strength. Keeping yourself company is the best way to figure out how to solve problems, clear your mind, sort out difficult situations, let go of negative energy, and gain greater self-introspection.
Time to yourself to look inward gives you the opportunity to connect with who you truly are; what you stand for; what kind of person you want to be; what kind of life you want to live; what standards you uphold and what values you choose to live by. All of these qualities are essential to have in order to live a purpose-driven life.
“ Me Time” helps you create the “breathing space” you need to restore your vital energy necessary to maintain healthy relationship boundaries. “Alone time” gives you the time and space to feel safe, free and uninterrupted.
Time away from our partners gives us the chance to yearn for social interaction. Creating a balance between time by yourself, and time with others is necessary to preserve your healthy sense of self.
Restore Refresh Rebuild.
Think of yourself as a warrior in steel armor and a shield. Others’ negative energy can’t ever penetrate through your armor. If intense negative energy comes your way, put your shield up. Protect yourself. When you deflect negative energy with your invisible shield, nobody can cross your boundary. The negative energy hits your shield and reverberates back into the universe returning to the source where it originally came from.
Negative energy could be translated into: being bullied by a friend to participate in an undesirable activity; being verbally abused by a relative; being pressured into taking on more work in a group project than what is realistic; being slighted by a colleague’s criticism or being unfairly judged by a supervisor.
Your shield separates yourself from others. The safe space you create behind your shield allows you to think for yourself, building more individuality, centeredness and self-knowing.
Ward off what is not needed, and let in what is productive, fair and reciprocal. Shielding yourself from negativity sends the message to others that you are a force of nature to be reckoned with. It lets others know that you command respect, and that you are not a target of any form of abuse.
Know when it’s time to establish the ultimate boundary- exiting a toxic relationship. It is extremely difficult to come to a place of strength to tell someone that he/she can no longer be apart of your life. It’s also a daunting task to come to a place of awareness of understanding that an abusive relationship is exactly what it is- abusive. It is virtually impossible to set healthy relationship boundaries when one person in the relationship is a bullying victimizer.
If you think you are a target of any type of abuse- physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or financial, and the abusive partner is deemed incapable of change, set that boundary and know when get out and away from that relationship.
The difficulty of getting out of a bad relationship cannot be underestimated especially when the abuse takes form of: emotional mistreatment of a romantic partner; physical misconduct in a family relationship; or sexual harassment of an employer. When there is the need to maintain financial stability in one’s job, or continuity of a family unit where there is domestic violence amongst spouses and there’s small kids involved, or living across the street from a difficult neighbor, creating a healthy distance between the victim and the abuser is necessary for self-preservation.
Sometimes reducing closeness is not an option. Severing ties or going NO CONTACT all together may be the right choice to make in order to prevent further mistreatment.
Get Healthy! Build inner and outer strength by establishing and maintaining a physical fitness program, down time carved out to rest, self-reflect, journal, pray or meditate. Try to adhere to living an overall healthy life-style by eating nutritiously, surrounding yourself with healthy-minded people, abstaining from regrettable unhealthy choice making such as overeating, substance abuse or gambling for example.
Get Busy! When you keep a regimented schedule that you honor; this can be not working more hours that what you are getting paid for in your job for example. That time shaved off can be dedicated to your sleep restoration, workouts at the gym, or even just organizing your closet. Clean out your house, and clean out your mind. Get rid of what you no longer need which gives you back greater freedom to think for yourself.