Boundaries show us how someone may feel towards us as well as their own internal struggles. It’s a feedback on an individual’s emotional well-being. It’s important to remember that despite someone crossing your boundaries, you have to stay true to yourself and hold on to your boundaries. You cannot control or change someone’s reaction but it will help you understand how an individual who crosses your boundaries is struggling internally. The only reason someone may feel threatened by your boundaries may be due to someone crossing their boundaries at one point in his or her life, more specifically in their childhood. Therefore, you can already understand why some may not respect it or even think its a valid request. The boundaries you set do not need to be validated, in fact, we do not need anyone’s permission to set a boundary. If something makes you uncomfortable then you have every right to make it clear.
Each individual has their own boundaries and a lot of times, it’s not something we speak about but it is something that we feel when it is crossed. Any game-playing, manipulation, gaslighting, name-calling, not taking a no for an answer, etc., are all examples of our boundaries being crossed. It leaves us feeling uneasy, unheard, not validated, and it hurts.
To set healthy boundaries, you have to realize that you are responsible for your own happiness and it does not depend on others. Healthy boundaries in any type of relationship will allow both people to feel comfortable to connect deeper and be real with one another, which essentially will lead to positive relationship experience. No boundary is ever too big or too small to matter. We all deserve to be respected and heard and while how someone reacts cannot be controlled, there’s always something we can learn from how another person reacts to our boundaries.
So what can you do to set boundaries? Well, first ask yourself if you respect your own boundaries? Do you break your own boundaries and push yourself to do things that you do not want to do or feel comfortable with, act a certain way in front of people to be accepted or fit in? If the answer is yes, then you are breaking your own boundaries because you are scared of being judged, your don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, you don’t want them to be upset, etc. You are scared of someone else reaction, therefore, you are ignoring your own needs, sacrificing yourself to please others around you. It is a cycle that cannot be broken unless you decide to break it yourself. So how can you change it? The answer is simple but it takes a lot of effort, consistency, and commitment. Choose one thing each day and keep yourself accountable. Don’t just dismiss it or change it only because of the circumstances. For instance, you decided to spend the day at home and have some time alone doing whatever makes you happy, whether it is watching TV, painting or getting some house chores done. Your friend calls you asking you to go out for a cup of coffee and you feel uncomfortable saying no…right at that moment, you are crossing your own boundary. You should feel more than okay being truthful and saying that you need the day to yourself and that another time would work better. You don’t need to explain yourself and just know that you are entitled to have your own feelings and opinion despite how it may come across. When you find the time, when you feel recharged and in the right mood, then you can reach out and ask that friend to go out for a cup of coffee.
Establishing healthy boundaries is a skill that one has to learn, it is not something that comes easy and it takes a lot of practice. Healthy boundaries don’t come easily, those that cannot benefit from you anymore will leave you, while those that respect and love you enough will take the time to learn to respect them so give it time.