How To Set Personal Boundaries
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Knowing how to set personal boundaries ensures healthier relationships, and it gives you a healthier self-image. When you establish boundaries, you are telling others that you have a high level of self-worth and self-respect, and that you will not let other people define you. Your personal boundaries are emotional, mental and physical limits that you impose to protect yourself against negative things, such as being used or manipulated by others. It is important to understand personal boundaries and what you need to do to set them to improve your life.
Signs of Unhealthy Boundaries
When you have unhealthy personal boundaries, this comes with several negative consequences. Being able to recognize these signs gives you the chance to make the right changes. If any of the following apply to you, it is time to work toward establishing healthy personal boundaries:
a) To please others, you go against your rights or personal values
b) You take as much time as possible just to take it
c) You automatically expect someone else to fill your needs
d) When you are treated poorly, you do not speak up
e) You fall in love too quickly
f) You touch a person without getting their permission
g) You give just to give
h) You allow others to define you
i) When you say "no" you feel guilty
j) You fall apart just so that people will take care of you
k) You accept advances even though you do not want them
Benefits of Good Boundaries
Once you take the time to establish boundaries, you will find that you are more confident and that you are in control of your life. All aspects of your life will improve. The following are benefits that people commonly experience after setting boundaries:
a) A healthy self-concept and highly improved self-confidence
b) Your communication skills improve allowing better communication with other people
c) You have more control over your life and a greater level of stability
d) You find that you have clarity and you are in better touch with reality
e) Your relationships are much more fulfilling and it is easier to get along with strangers
How to Establish Personal Boundaries
Now you know about how poor boundaries can affect you and the benefits you reap once you establish them. The hard part is learning how to best establish personal boundaries, but a few behavioral and habit changes will get you started. It will take time to set these habits in stone, so you must be patient with yourself and work toward making these positive changes over time.
Step 1: Your Feelings Are Important
The first step is knowing that your feelings are just as important as everyone else's feelings. It is easy to always put others ahead of you, but it is important that you take the time to process your feelings too. When you constantly put others above you and never take the time to consider yourself, this will eventually harm your personal relationships. It can also take a toll on your physical and emotional health.
Step 2: Learn To Say "No"
The next thing to do is start learning how to say "no." It is common to never want to disappoint people, but it is important that you not leave your personal needs behind to always do something for others. It is highly beneficial to your overall well-being to know how to balance helping others and helping yourself.
Step 3: Speak!
If someone crosses the line with you, do not be shy to let them know. This is important in maintaining your personal space. It is important to respectfully discuss the behaviors that you find inappropriate or else the person may not realize what they are doing. Let the person know what the behavior is and why you find it unacceptable. This establishes a boundary, and once someone knows what the behavior is, they are less likely to engage in it in the future. This helps to promote a healthier and more honest relationship between the both of you. It also works to improve your overall communication skills.
Step 4: Repeat
When you set your personal boundaries, you are taking control of your life. The right boundaries ensure that you are taking full responsibility for who you are and this works to preserve your integrity. It does take time to set personal boundaries because you will be working on these for all of the different people in your life. Do this gradually and start with those closest to you and work your way outward. Make sure to communicate honestly and be sure that the personal boundaries are mutual.
- Rosemary Kitchen
Lancer, D. (2013). What Are Personal Boundaries? How Do I Get Some?. Retrieved on February 10, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-are-personal-boundaries-how-do-i-get-some/00016100
Buck, C. (2015). Establishing Effective Personal Boundaries. Retrieved on February 10, 2015 from http://healthandwellness.vanderbilt.edu/news/2015/01/establishing-effective-personal-boundaries/