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Setting boundaries is not easy for many of us, but is something that we all need to learn how to do.
PsychCentral has two articles that I found interesting. The first is What Are Personal Boundaries? How Do I Get Some? They list different types of boundaries (material, physical, mental, emotional, sexual and spiritual) and give a short description of each one. They then talk about your rights (saying “no”, changing your mind about things, asking for help) and the internal boundaries you have with yourself before giving a general overview about setting boundaries.
People often say they set a boundary, but it didn’t help. There’s an art to setting boundaries. If it’s done in anger or by nagging, you won’t be heard. Boundaries are not meant to punish, but are for your well-being and protection. They’re more effective when you’re assertive, calm, firm, and courteous. If that doesn’t work, you may need to communicate consequences to encourage compliance. It’s essential, however, that you never threaten a consequence you’re not fully prepared to carry out.
It takes time, support, and relearning to be able to set effective boundaries. Self-awareness and learning to be assertive are the first steps. Setting boundaries isn’t selfish. It’s self-love – you say “yes” to yourself each time you say “no.” It builds self-esteem. But it usually takes encouragement to make yourself a priority and to persist, especially when you receive pushback.
The second article is 10 Way to Build and Preserve Better Boundaries and describes the following ways to build boundaries:
- Name your limits
- Tune into your feelings
- Be direct
- Give yourself permission
- Practice self-awareness
- Consider your past and present
- Make self-care a priority
- Seek support
- Be assertive
- Start small
For a comparison of healthy and unhealthy boundaries, please check out the list below.