You might not realize it right now, but your life can drastically change when you’re able to manage your personal boundaries. Personal boundaries are considered your mental & emotional limits when it comes to what you expect from a person and how they behave towards you. They indicate what you find acceptable (or unacceptable) to those close to you –family, friends, or a partner – and even what you find appropriate with strangers you come across in the physical world or online.
Common domains of personal boundaries include space, time, energy, communication, and ethics. Despite what you might think, personal boundaries are essential to any relationship, whether it’s temporary or long-term. They aim to stop manipulation, prevent breaches upon personal information, and demonstrate to others that you will not be taken advantage of.
All that it takes is a little know-how and a lot of self-awareness. Setting – and more importantly, keeping – your personal boundaries takes a lot of practice in assertiveness. Here is where to start!
Identify Your Boundaries.
How can you set boundaries if you don’t even know what they are first? So, obviously, the first step in your journey is finding out where your boundaries lie. This may vary from person-to-person, depending on your relationships, friendships, and partnerships. It could also vary based on your environment – for example, you might be willing to take more flack from your boss, as opposed to a complete stranger. Either way, everyone has different starting points when it comes to personal boundaries, and it is your job to unravel your one way or another.
Listen to Your Feelings.
A large part of defining (and eventually, re-defining) your boundaries starts with getting more attune to your feelings. There are several ways to approach this step. You could start by journaling daily. Journaling provides a means to process your emotions and identify the problematic patterns that pop up in your life. You could also consider seeing a professional therapist, which is now easier than ever – thanks to the power of technology. By becoming more aware of your feelings, it will be easier to know where to draw the line in certain scenarios.
Learn How to Say No.
All of these suggestions are here to aid you in the ultimate test of setting boundaries, and that’s learning how to say no – which can be difficult for a lot of folks, especially those who identify as “people pleasers.” Just remember, you’re allowed to say no even when it feels uncomfortable. You’re also not obligated to give the person – who is requesting some piece of yourself – an explanation. In most instances, our need to explain ourselves is an obligation we create within ourselves. Believe it or not, people will be fine with you saying no in most instances… and you’ll feel better for it, too!
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