Learning how to set personal boundaries is important for healthy, happy relationships. It’s time to focus on what you want versus what you don’t want.
When it comes to being happy and healthy in life, learning how to set personal boundaries is key. It all comes down to being true to yourself. If you’re going against the things you care about and the things that are important to you, stress is never far behind.
In relationships, boundaries are vitally important. If you don’t learn to set personal boundaries with those around you, you might find that people overstep the mark on a regular basis. They make you feel uncomfortable, perhaps resulting in an unequal relationship.
Of course, you can’t expect people to be at fault for this if you don’t set and communicate your own boundaries. They’re not mind readers, and they don’t automatically know what you’re happy with versus what makes you feel uncomfortable.
Relationships are two way streets. While setting your own boundaries, you should also listen and respect the personal boundaries of the other person too. This goes for romantic, work, friend, and family relationships!
What are personal boundaries?
Your personal boundaries dictate the lines in which you live your life. For instance, your boundaries might include spending time alone occasionally. You might be someone who needs alone time to recharge. Then, make one of your personal boundaries your need for space a few times a week in order to focus on your own self-care needs.
Personal boundaries can cover a huge range of different things, but they’re basically rules that you set for yourself and other people around you. They tell other people what you expect in a relationship of any kind and how you expect to be treated, as well as what you need. These personal boundaries also tell other people what will happen if they overstep these marks.
Learning to set personal boundaries can be difficult at first. Nobody wants to live by a set of rules. However, failing to have your own personal boundaries in place leave you open to being taken advantage of, and simply living your life for other people and not yourself.
How to set personal boundaries: 7 things to consider
#1 Think about what is important to you and what you need. When you first learn how to set personal boundaries, the first thing to consider is what you need in life and relationships. What is important to you and the things you need to be happy and feel positive.
For instance, a personal boundary within a relationship might be that you won’t tolerate cheating of any kind. It might sound like a no brainer but if you don’t set these boundaries, there are blurred lines as to what you class as cheating versus what you don’t. If total faithfulness is important to you, that’s a personal boundary for you.
#2 Spend some time thinking about the boundary before deciding upon it. You need to be totally okay with the boundary you’re setting for yourself and others. So, before you decide upon it, spend some time thinking about it carefully. Tune into how it makes you feel. Listen to your gut on this one. If the boundary makes you feel in control and upbeat, it’s a good choice. If it makes you feel a little rigid and unsure of which way to move, it’s not the right choice for you. Stop and rethink.
You don’t want to set a personal boundary with someone in your life and then change your mind and jump to something else. You’re only going to confuse people by doing that. While some boundaries can and do change over the course of a lifetime, you should stick to your core values. As a result, you need to be sure of how they make you feel.
#3 Communicate your personal boundaries clearly. This one is difficult! You should communicate your personal boundaries clearly and directly with those around you, but how exactly do you do it? It’s not the best idea to sit them down and give them a list of what you will and won’t accept. However, consider a conversation about the things that are important to you.
When you do talk about your boundaries, make sure that you are clear. Clearly outline your personal boundaries directly; otherwise, you leave them open to interpretation. Then, if someone crosses one of your boundaries, you’re going to find yourself in strange waters when trying to figure out what to do about it.
#4 Don’t allow yourself to feel bad about any boundary you’ve set in place. Learning how to set personal boundaries also means not feeling bad about something which is important to you. Never allow someone to make you feel bad or unreasonable about something if it’s truly important to you. T
hat’s why it’s key to make sure you think about your boundaries before deciding upon them. If they feel right to you, then you shouldn’t be made to feel bad for having them.
Anyone who makes you feel bad about a personal boundary you have set is someone who is probably a little annoyed that they can’t basically take you for a ride and get what they want out of you anyway. Someone who cares for you will want to work within your limits and make you happy, while building a solid relationship together.
#5 Make sure you’re actually sticking to your boundaries. Self-awareness is key and be sure that you’re actually doing what you say. You can’t set a personal boundary with someone close to you and then go against it by doing that exact same thing to them! Be consistent. Understand the importance of communication in all types of relationships.
#6 Understand the importance of self-care. Every boundary you set is about self-care at the core. Not understanding the importance of spending time on your own, looking after yourself ,and generally being kind to yourself means that you’re not actually understanding the true essence of what a personal boundary really is. Make sure that within every relationship you have *friendship, romantic, or otherwise*, you set aside sometime for yourself. You are just as important as anyone else.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should be selfish. There is a very big difference between the two. Learning how to set personal boundaries shouldn’t mean that you’re being unfair or unreasonable to anyone else, but it does mean that you’re sticking to whatever is important to you.
#7 Stick to the consequences of your boundaries. Personal boundaries mean that not only do you set out the guidelines of what you expect, but you also talk about what will happen if those personal boundaries aren’t respected. That doesn’t mean you walk away at the first hint of someone making a mistake or overstepping the line. It does mean communicating and being clear that going against your boundaries isn’t something you’re willing to accept.
It can be hard to be strong in these situations. While it’s important to remember that everyone makes mistakes, if it’s a regular thing, they are taking advantage and not simply someone making a mistake.
Learning how to set personal boundaries means turning your attention inwards and really thinking carefully about the things you’re happy to accept in life versus the thing you’re not.