There’s a powerful tool that every successful person must implement into their lives and relationship, and it’s called boundaries!
One of the biggest questions is, “how do I set boundaries in my relationships and life so that I don’t hurt people’s feelings and that I don’t feel like a doormat?”
Our boundaries define us; they let us know our responsibilities. We teach others how to treat us. By not having boundaries in our life, we shouldn’t be surprised when others step over the invisible line. We are responsible for our actions, not anyone else’s.
Our temperaments/personality styles play a prominent role in viewing boundaries and setting them. Some may become more confrontational, while others shy away. Individuals with more people-oriented personality styles have a more difficult time saying no, while more task-oriented individuals don’t struggle as much with telling others no.
I’d like to take some time to expound on this topic for this week’s tip. Let’s start by defining what a boundary is:
“A boundary is a limit or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin and the other person ends . . . a healthy boundary is, of course, to protect and take good care of you and the people in your life.”
Setting healthy boundaries has many benefits, including helping us make decisions based on what is best for the people in our lives and us. Learning to show compassion and kindness to yourself is crucial in setting healthy boundaries.
In short, boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out. It is a fence around our property. For example, we want to keep our animals safe inside the wall and keep the wolves who would mean to cause harm out!
Not having any boundaries, or having poor boundaries, can lead to resentment, anger, and burnout. We’ve witnessed this too often, driving a wedge between couples and entire families.
When we reframe setting boundaries as a part of our self-care, we can look upon them as a gift.
If you’re not used to setting boundaries, you may feel guilty when you first start. Realize boundaries are for your protection, safety, and freedom. When we know how to operate within boundaries, there will be freedom.
In our marriages, we have boundaries that we have agreed to stay within. Some boundaries are like immovable concrete barriers, while others have a little give, like my favorite stretchy pants.
For example: Concrete
Monogamy; we have agreed that we will only have sex with each other, and we will fulfill all our sexual desires and fantasies with each other. We allow both of us the freedom to trust each other and explore within those boundaries. This brings a safe space to our marriage bed emotionally and physically.
Ridged or concrete boundaries should be reserved for fundamental issues in our lives and relationships where safety and security issues in our relationship could be affected.
For example: Flexible
Chris and I have agreed to be actively involved in our grandson’s life. We have certain times that we make sure we see him, and our daughter knows what we’re willing to give as far as babysitting. Anything over and above the agreed-upon times, she has the freedom to ask, but we also reserve the right to say No. This boundary gives us all permission to give and receive while allowing some flexibility. We are giving her the freedom to always ask for help while permitting us to say no. This protects our relationship from feelings of offense and being taken advantage of, which is love.
Remember this saying: “Givers without boundaries will always attract takers without limits.” Putting the ball in our court! This means we must set up proper boundaries so we don’t attract what we don’t want. No one can set a boundary for you; you must take responsibility for this in your own life.
Our common enemy would love to see this happen; he comes to kill, steal, and destroy us. Setting boundaries to protect and guard against resentment and anger between our loved ones is true love!
Here are three signs that you need to set some boundaries in your life:
- You don’t contribute to decisions that will impact you.
- You are allowing emotional or verbal abuse in your relationships.
- You are looking or are dependent on other people’s opinions or perspective of you to define you.
There is only one way to establish clear boundaries with your spouse and children: to have healthy and honest conversations about how you’re feeling and what you want.
Below are three questions you can start with:
- On a scale of 1-10 (1-being uncomfortable and ten being very comfortable), how comfortable are you setting boundaries? Reflect on your answer by writing out the reasons why or why not.
- What areas in your life do you need to put up some boundaries to improve your relationship with your spouse/or the people in your life?
- What chronic conflict keeps coming up between you and your spouse/children/friends that could be solved with a proper (and agreed upon) boundary?
P.S. Please share your experience with setting boundaries in your life; simply hit reply to this email and share your story; we’d love to hear from you!