There are many things in life that we cannot control, including the behavior of others, which is ones of the things that most often cause us stress and anxiety. The only person you can control is yourself and how you respond to those around you. This means it’s imperative to learn how to set healthy boundaries.
The Importance of Boundaries
You have the power to setting healthy boundaries. It is ok, in fact it’s HEALTHY to set good boundaries. Listen, even Jesus set boundaries. He chose to take time away from people to spend time with the Father, he didn’t always do what others wanted him to do and he said no to inappropriate behavior. Jesus communicated his boundaries in love and set clear expectations of others. You too can establish this pattern in your life.
If you’re not used to it, setting boundaries can feel stressful and anxiety producing. When teaching healthy boundaries, I like to give the visual of a house. Would you rather….
1. Live in a house with no doors or windows so that anyone could come and go as they please, OR
2. Live in a house with doors and windows that lock and unlock, with a white pickett fence surrounding it that you can choose to open and close.
Boundaries are much easier to set in the beginning of a relationship. You can always take them away or change them as needed. If you have difficulty setting healthy boundaries and you haven’t done so before, it is normal to feel pushback from those around you because they are not used to you choosing healthy boundaries. It might be difficult, but it’s not impossible and it is certainly important. Take a moment today to assess your various relationships (family, friends, romantic) and think about the boundaries (or lack thereof) that you have in place.
How Do you Set Healthy Boundaries?
Setting boundaries does not equal being mean. You can be kind and still have boundaries. You can be assertive without being aggressive. People will better understand you when you set limits and will most often respect you even if they don’t necessarily agree with you. Those who choose not to respect your boundaries are likely people that you don’t want in your life anyway.
Setting healthy boundaries are key in prioritizing your mental health, having good self-care and obtaining healthy relationships.
So what do boundaries look like?
*Be clear and specific
*Do not negotiate
*Do not apologize
Your boundaries matter and deserve to be respected. Boundaries show maturity, protect your energy, stop resentment, and make relationships last longer. Try changing your focus from things that you cannot control to things that you CAN control. Assess the choices that you have and then take action.