One thing that has always amazed me is the way people view setting boundaries. People view setting boundaries as being mean, cruel, and/or having other negative connotations. People also view it as something done only to hurt other people.
I challenge these views for two reasons. The first reason is the entire reason for setting boundaries is to protect and keep safe, and this is true in relationships as well. We set boundaries for children does that make us mean? We set boundaries for our spouses does that mean we don’t trust them?
We often don’t set boundaries for ourselves and this is a huge problem! By failing to do so for ourselves we are hurting our relationships. We are giving away our power to others and allowing situations to occur that cause us pain and suffering.
Decide what you will and will not take into yourself. Sit down and do this in a boundary setting journal and then enforce the boundaries. Boundaries are healthy and protect our relationships from destruction by any cause.
When setting boundaries ask yourself:
These questions will guide you in setting good boundaries. Boundaries are more effective if you word them positively. For example a boundary I set for myself is, “I aside all time from 7pm on Monday-Thursday to spend time with my husband.” I find this works better than saying, “I won’t work after 7pm Monday-Thursday.”
Restructuring my boundary language allows my unconscious mind to process it correctly. This is a process that is made difficult only in the way we as individuals view setting boundaries. Other people will be dragged kicking and screaming into our boundaries, but as long as we are firm in our boundaries and understand the reasons we are setting them our stress levels don’t have to be impacted. Once we understand that setting boundaries isn’t about punishing someone else or creating a conflict, we are in a better position to feel good about what we are doing. Feeling good about what we do is important and it allows us to not be bothered by others.
When setting boundaries it is important that we let others know that we are not doing this to threaten them or make them feel bad, but that we need to know that these limits are respected.