Knowing how to set boundaries is key for maintaining your mental health, improving relationships, and finding a better work-life balance. However, setting boundaries and standing up for your own needs can be difficult – especially if you tend to look out for the needs of others first or are afraid of letting others down. As you work on setting necessary boundaries in your life, here are 10 key things to keep in mind.
1. Boundaries Shouldn’t Be a Last Resort
All too often, people choose to set boundaries after they’ve been hurt or burnt out. However, realistically, even the healthiest relationships and work environments needs boundaries. Don’t see boundaries as a punishment or reaction to something bad – rather, see it as ongoing, proactive form of self-care.
2. Be Clear and Be Consistent
Boundaries are only effective if they are kept. Be very clear about what your boundaries are, and make sure these boundaries aren’t just something you tell yourself. Communicate your boundaries, set clear expectations, and stick to them.
3. Start Small
Boundaries are like goals – sometimes you have to work up to a large boundary to keep with it. Maybe eventually you’d like an hour every night to yourself away from your family to practice self-care. However, if you start with 20 minutes and work yourself up, it will ease the process for yourself and your family.
4. Remember Boundaries Aren’t a Punishment
If you are setting boundaries because you have been hurt or neglected, try to be civil and mature in how you present your needs to have boundaries. Rather than lash out or say you need boundaries in an argument, remember that you are setting boundaries to improve the relationship and take care of your needs – not to punish the individual.
5. Some Boundaries Are Harder Than Others
Some boundaries will be easy to set, and others will be more challenging. Understand that each situation and person is unique.
6. Start With High-Priority Boundaries
Maybe you’re just starting to become more aware of your need for boundaries. Start with the relationships that are causing the most stress and require boundaries – and remember, don’t be afraid to reach out for support if you need it.
7. Write Down Your Rules
It can help to have your boundaries, and any rules, and why you wanted to set boundaries in writing. This can help keep the other person – and yourself – accountable.
8. Expect Pushback
Know that just because you want boundaries, the other person might not see eye to eye. However, remember why these boundaries are important and get support if needed.
9. Understand You Might Make Mistakes
Setting boundaries is one thing – maintaining them is a whole other challenge. Understand that you (and the other person) might fail. But that this just means you need to try again.
10. Reach Out to a Therapist
If you consistently struggle with setting boundaries, a therapist can help you identify why this is a struggle and guide you on your journey.Read More On How To Set Boundaries