Setting boundaries is an essential step in helping you maintain your mental health and gain the safety, space, and respect you need. It’s also known as personal rules or limitations that you should create. When you set boundaries, you’ll guide other people on how to behave towards you. By drawing the line, you can protect yourself from being taken advantage of by others and ensure others meet your needs. You’ll avoid harming your self-esteem if you start setting boundaries. In this article, we’ll highlight why you should be setting boundaries and how to set boundaries for other people to ensure others respect your space, body, and you.
What should you be setting boundaries for?
You should set boundaries for your personal space, sexuality, emotions, thoughts, possessions, time, energy, religion, culture, and ethics. It will allow you to take charge of your life so that other people know where to stop. By doing so, you can ensure to have healthier relationships with people you can trust. You can get rid of being emotionally drained and the feeling of being invaded by setting boundaries for your personal space, etc.
Guidelines for setting boundaries
When setting boundaries, you have to follow a set of personal guidelines to be successful. It depends on your beliefs and upbringing, so you need to know where to draw the line. Be realistic and determine what your rules will be when it comes to your boundaries. Other people should still be able to reach out to you while being comfortable within your limits.
Before you get started, it’s essential to determine your needs and rights. It’ll help you to set a healthy boundary if you think about it carefully. Not only can you keep your personal space safe, but it will also give you peace of mind. Depending on your orientation, you can shape your boundaries from them.
1. Know Your Basic Rights
It would help if you learned what your basic rights are before setting boundaries. That way, you don’t have to feel bad about your firm decisions. Identify and believe in your rights. If you believe in them, there’s no need to convince other people to do the same. It will help you be serious about knowing your true limits and where your limits lie.
Your Basic Rights:
Say no without the guilt feeling
You can say no to anything you don’t like nor want to do. No one can pressure you into saying yes to something you don’t want to do. You have the freedom to vocalize your no at any time.
Be treated with respect
All human beings deserve respect– no exceptions. So that includes you too. You should not only give respect to every person you come across, but you should be treated with it as well.
Your needs have the same importance as others
Sometimes your needs and someone else’s needs don’t align. In this case, it’s best to part ways and have your needs met by another person or by yourself.
Accept your mistakes and failures
No one on the planet is perfect. No one. Don’t expect perfection from yourself and don’t expect it from others. Everyone will mess up now and then.
Don’t have to meet unrealistic expectations
Remember, you’re not required to meet someone else’s expectations, ever.
2. Follow Your Instinct
When you don’t have any idea if you’re following the boundaries that you have set, follow your gut instinct. It’ll always tell you if you’re doing things right. Be aware of your instincts because it’ll warn you when something isn’t as it should be.
Your instinct will alert you when someone violated your boundaries. It can make you feel instantly angry or scared, which will inform you that it’s time to draw the line. Your body will also react with your instinct, like clenching your fist, tightening the jaw, or even increase heart rate.
3. Consider Your Values
Setting boundaries includes considering your values. It’s one of the reasons why you want to put limitations to protect yourself from others. Your values play a big role in determining your limits. It’s best to vocalize when you feel challenged or threatened. That will be the basis of your boundaries.
Once you determine what makes you tick, you’ll know where to draw the boundaries. It’s one of the basic things that you need to consider. That way, you don’t have to wait until someone crosses the line. You can already leave or stop before it happens.
How to Set Boundaries Around You
1. You Need to be Firm
Be firm when setting boundaries. Being firm will help you to avoid considering something that will end up bad for you. Drawing boundaries means that you have to decide when you should stop. If you don’t, you’ll end up feeling uncomfortable, violated, or upset.
When you have to say no, make sure to be firm about it every time– no exceptions. That way, you can avoid leading someone to believe that it’s alright sometimes. Don’t feel guilty about it because you can’t always say yes to everyone or everything, every time. It’s not good for your well-being, and you don’t want to feel exhausted, hurt, or provoked all the time.
For example, stating that someone needs to ask you for permission before having sex every time they want to have sex with you would be an example of setting a firm boundary for consent.
2. Become Assertive
If you want to be firm but kind, you can try to set boundaries by being assertive. Other people can be aggressive, and it’s best to give them a non-negotiable tone. Unfortunately, assertive women tend to be seen as more aggressive than assertive men due to bias. But don’t let people’s perceptions affect the seriousness of your boundaries, even if the other person overreacts to them. Make the boundaries clear in a serious tone, and they can’t take advantage of you or push you to your limits.
Use the “I” statement to show your confidence while setting boundaries. You can try this guided meditation for confidence if you’re looking to build up your assertiveness. By doing so, you can tell them how you feel whenever they invade your privacy. You don’t have to worry about offending someone while setting boundaries.
For example, you might tell your spouse, “As soon as I get home from a long day at work, I need an hour to myself to recharge my batteries from socializing with coworkers all day. After my batteries are fully charged, we can eat dinner together and spend quality time together.”
3. Say No When Needed
Avoid saying yes to everything and learn how to say no. It’ll help you avoid compromising yourself when you need to do other things. There are situations when you have to say no. You don’t have to explain further, and there’s no need to feel guilty about it.
If a friend from work asks you to cover for them, you can go ahead and say no if you can’t do it. There’s nothing wrong with saying no if you’re uncomfortable with the situation. You don’t have to do what others should be doing themselves all the time.
For example, if your boss asks you to work on a Saturday but you need the weekend to relax, you can tell your boss that you have plans for the weekend that you need to need to do. In this case, your commitment to yourself to relax after a long week stays in place.
4. Make Your Space Safe
If you’re serious about setting boundaries, you need to make your space safe. Start with your personal belongings such as your journal, smartphone, computer, and others. Create a password for your devices or get a safety lock for other things that you own.
Creating a safe space for your personal belongings will teach other people to respect your privacy. It’s also your right to keep your messages private and devices secure. You can communicate your boundaries with your partner and make them understand your limits.
For example, you don’t have to share passwords with anyone you date or are married to. You need to continue being trustworthy and not disrespect them behind a password-locked screen, though. However, you’re allowed to have private conversations with friends or family.
5. Get Help from a Professional
There are people with special needs when it comes to setting boundaries. It can be tricky when it has something to do with mental illness or past trauma. If you’re having a hard time drawing your boundaries and communicating with others, it’s best to seek help from a professional.
It may seem simple to other people, but there’s nothing wrong with asking for assistance if you feel unsupported. If you are suffering from trauma, depression, mental illness, or anxiety, it can be challenging to set boundaries alone.
Learning how to ask others to meet your needs is a crucial step to help you when you’re struggling with a difficult situation and need some extra support. Find a therapist who supports you, and find someone else if they don’t.
Benefits of Setting Boundaries
1. Improves Self-Esteem and Relationships
Boundaries will improve your self-esteem because you know your limits. It can also make your relationships better. You can be more open to your loved ones and grow closer together. It’ll teach others to respect your space and avoid crossing the line.
Setting boundaries will prevent your relationships from becoming unsafe for both you and your partner. By setting limits, you’ll be able to prioritize self-care and reach your life goals. It’ll help your relationship with others grow and prevent it from being toxic over time.
2. It Can Be Flexible
Avoid setting boundaries that are too rigid to follow. You don’t have to be overly sensitive with other people to live a good life. Don’t draw the line where nobody can get through to you. Boundaries can be flexible to make adjustments over time as there’s more trust in your relationships.
You can still have fun with boundaries in place. Learn how to set your limits so you can enjoy yourself and have others enjoy your presence as well.
3. Conserve Emotional Energy
Conserve your emotional energy to avoid feeling drained all the time. By setting boundaries, you can minimize wasting emotional energy. If you don’t feel like doing something for a friend, you don’t have to do it.
You’ll waste your emotional energy if you keep on doing something that you don’t want to. It can cause stress which can affect your relationship with your friend. Setting boundaries will help them understand your limits.
For example, if you’re married with children and a friend asks for help with a move, you might suggest hiring movers as you have other responsibilities while still connecting them to a resource for support.
4. Safe Space to Grow
Being vulnerable is not always a bad thing. It’ll allow other people to know you better. By setting boundaries, you may appear vulnerable to someone who doesn’t know you well. But if the person cares about you, they’ll make sure to avoid crossing the line.
Boundaries can provide you more meaningful relationships with other people. It will eventually provide you with a safe space to grow. If you allow yourself to be vulnerable, it’s a sign that you’re improving and growing well.
5. Helps You to Be More Independent
Setting boundaries will help you to learn more about yourself. As you know more about what makes you uncomfortable or irritated, you will know what kind of person you are. It’ll make you feel confident about yourself and become more independent.
You don’t have to depend on what other people say about you. Whatever they tell you about yourself, your self-esteem will no longer be affected. Knowing yourself and your limitations will help you to become more independent. It’ll also make you safer.
Setting boundaries will help you to feel more in control of your life. It may seem simple, but not everyone is confident in drawing their boundaries. Some may feel guilty about it, but by being firm about it, you can successfully manage it. If you want to have total control of your life and emotions, setting boundaries will help you to be a happy person.