Boundaries! Aced this concept in geography but a foreign concept in our relationships! True or true? We are often told to set healthy boundaries but what exactly does one mean by it? We are left to figure this out on our own. Am I sharing too much? Should I always be available for my partner or will it result in me being taken for granted? Should I be the proactive one in the organization or all work will just become my baggage? If you often find yourself in the loop of such questions, you are definitely finding it difficult to create healthy boundaries in your life. May it be at work or in personal life.
We understand that setting healthy boundaries isn’t really a child’s play. You can neither be too rigid nor too flexible. However, once you ace this art, you shall master every relationship. So how can one develop healthy boundaries? Well, the answer is by striking the right balance! Difficult to decipher? Well when we say balance, we are talking about a space where there isn’t a lot of rigidity and also flexibility. To put it in an example, you can neither show up for all the responsibilities at home and can neither withdraw yourself completely from them. It’s a space where you are well aware of your comfort zone. You know when to say a yes and when to say a no. You prioritize being honest and transparent and very well know how to communicate your needs and wants. You do not let others take you for granted but also do not be the one who is unavailable. Not just this, a person who has aced the art of setting healthy boundaries also has clear expectations. He or she knows exactly what to accept from the other people and also what they can expect from you.
Now that we very well understand the importance of setting healthy boundaries, here’s a guide on how you can practically build them:
Become aware of yourself
We all experience situations when we are in a dilemma only because we didn’t set healthy boundaries. But one can set boundaries only when he or she is well aware of what they like and dislike. Therefore to start with, we suggest you make a list of all the situations where you experienced the results of blurred boundaries and then write how would you have liked the situation to be. If you reflect on it, you will not only get an idea of how you could have dealt with things better but also what you like and dislike. Thus making you better equipped for situations like these in future
Know your extent and act accordingly
You have a fair idea of what works for you and what doesn’t! Now spend some time setting limits. We say so as it is easy to identify when someone crosses it and to take some action for it. If you are a homemaker, you could pen down your set of chores and can avoid being taken for granted by not doing the tasks beyond your limit. If you are someone who wishes to balance, your work and personal life, avoid extending your work hours or checking your emails after work.
Communicate your comfort effectively
It could be some evident gestures or directly being verbal about them. Communicate to the people around you about what makes you comfortable and what doesn’t. Also now that you are well introduced to your limits, make sure to communicate them to the people concerned. For eg: telling your partner not to expect anything out of the errands that you have decided to run, communicating with your colleagues to not contact you post your working hours, etc. This shall automatically help you create a healthy boundary.
Learn to say no
Perhaps the most important mantra in setting up healthy boundaries for yourself. You cannot expect people to understand your boundaries automatically. We have heard this advice several times, but implementing it in our day-to-day lives is truly very tedious. But having said that, building this meta trait is a must to clear those blurred boundaries. In order to learn to say “no” start small.
Start today and remain concrete
All these efforts would just remain efforts if you do not bring them into action. So start from today. Do not wait for the right moment. And most importantly stay concrete with the boundaries that you have set. If you shall take them lightly the outside world shall do the same. Let not the boundaries fade away as that may lead to increased expectations and demands. Ones that you are not ready for.
Take it easy
Remember that the goal is to make your life easier. So refrain from being too hard on yourself. Do not overthink or beat yourself up for not being able to create boundaries for yourself. Start small, and one day you shall ace the art of setting healthy boundaries for yourself.