Personal boundaries are the regulations, standards, or limits that we establish to determine sensible, secure, and appropriate ways others interact with us. It is also about how we react when someone crosses those lines and the repercussions of their behavior that we inflict. Setting personal boundaries is essential for us to flourish and maintain stable connections. They enable us to discuss our needs and interests clearly and concisely without fear of consequences. It is also used to set boundaries so that others do not take advantage of us or harm us.
Setting boundaries is often misunderstood as selfish or self-centered when it’s just a protective measure to avoid harming ourselves. It is a form of self-care. We all want to be liked by everyone, and so, we find ourselves becoming a people pleaser. Although there is nothing wrong with becoming the best version of yourself and craving appreciation, being a people pleaser sets you up for failure. When we focus only on making other people happy, we forget what may be a potential danger to our peace. We give away more than expected even when we receive no effort from the other person. This behavior is putting us at risk in the long term. That is why it is crucial to have boundaries and let people know about them. But, it is not easy for everyone to set boundaries and act accordingly if someone violates them. To solve this issue, here are some techniques that anyone can follow to set healthy boundaries.
1) Set your priorities straight
Clarifying your priorities will assist you in determining what you are willing to spend your time and effort on. If you find yourself constantly having to put other people’s preferences before your own, it’s time to change that. First and foremost, categorize the people in your life. Not everyone you know holds the same place in your life. Hence it is essential to determine your boundaries according to the value of the person in your life. Take a notebook and write down the names of the people closest to you, then write the people you meet every day or your work colleagues. You will understand that you have different feelings for each of them, but the people in the category of your closed ones hold more importance than your colleagues. You can do this according to your perspective. It is an easy and effective way to define the place of different people in your life.
2) Learn to say NO
We all may be guilty at least once of saying yes when we want to say no at some point in our life. But, when this becomes a habit, you put yourself out there as a person to who people can always do or say anything, and you’ll not say no. So, the next time someone asks you to do something you’re not comfortable doing, say no. You don’t need to sugar-coat things or try to make them polite. A simple ‘no’ is itself a determinant of your lack of interest, so you don’t need to add things up.
3) Trust yourself
Whenever we are prone to a situation we don’t want to be in or feel uncomfortable with, our body gives us signals, and most of the time, we ignore them. Your gut never lies. It is vital to the cues that we feel about any situation. Take note of whether your jaw tightens or your fists clench. You may begin to squirm or burst out in a cold sweat. You might feel it in your throat or tummy. Whatever the cue, listen to your body and spend some time exploring your discomfort and understanding the originating limit.
4) Communicate your feelings with clarity
If the people around you are constantly doing or saying the things that irritate you to no end, you must make them face the fact that you will not accept it. If you don’t tell them, they’ll never know what they’re doing is wrong. Be the one to speak up when others act in a way that makes you feel inferior or undervalued. If something does not feel right to you, you should try to prevent it at all costs.
You do not have to use the same limits or level of warmth to everybody. Boundaries that allow us to have distinct radiuses based on the situation or participant can also assist you in maintaining sufficient capacity to think for yourself.
Along with setting boundaries for yourself, it is equally important to respect other people’s boundaries and not go beyond the limit with them. This includes family members, children, romantic partners, employers, work colleagues, and anybody else who communicates with or has power over others. Respect is a two-way street, and respecting the boundaries that others have set for themselves is just as important as setting one’s own. Boundaries are tools to help us feel secure, confident, and in control of our connections. As you move forward in life, you will begin to feel more uplifted by the realization that it is your right and your duty to make the best choices for yourself. Realize that you have complete power over your decisions and your life. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do. Set clear boundaries and allow yourself to do less people-pleasing.