Navigating life as an adult doesn’t come with a manual. There are so many aspects to consider – but mental and emotional wellness are the two elements that are being emphasized as the most vital.
And the most significant part of being mentally and emotionally healthy is setting healthy boundaries in every aspect of your relationship – with your family, friends, partners, and workmates.
However, if you’re like us, setting healthy boundaries for yourself can sometimes feel like solving the metaverse jumble. And it can even feel worse if you think you’re being unfair o the people closest to you, leading to feelings of guilt.
So, one might ask, how do you navigate all these feelings and set boundaries without beating yourself up? Well, gear up because here are several foolproof tips to help you navigate through the murky boundaries waters.
Tune Into Your Needs
One of the first things you need to do when setting healthy boundaries is to establish what you need. Whether that’s for personal growth or simply to stay sane.
By tuning into your thought, feelings, and emotions, you can quickly identify what you can handle and what affects your well-being.
You can then work outward from here and set the necessary boundaries to keep you safe and centered.
Saying No Is A Form Of Self-Love
We’re regularly pressured or guilted into doing things we would rather avoid to keep the peace.
However, saying yes to everything makes you an easy target for people to walk all over because you do not have a chance to set and establish boundaries. In the long run, it can turn you resentful and damage relationships.
One key thing about setting healthy boundaries is realizing that ‘No’ is a complete statement. You don’t have to explain why you’re declining something, and you should not feel bad about the refusal.
Assertively saying no can be daunting, but it gets easier with some practice.
Set Realistic Expectations
When you’re setting healthy boundaries, you need to think about it, like making a budget.
Everything needs to be realistic and, in some cases, even flexible. Practical and flexible boundaries allow you to make adjustments and tighten or loosen the noose where necessary.
Very rigid boundaries can quickly leave you feeling closed off and alone. This will further worsen the feelings of remorse, shame, and guilt associated with setting boundaries. Simply put, don’t think of them as concrete brick walls around yourself.
Tap Into Positive Affirmations
Overthinking and anxious thoughts are a plague that affects most of us. These two aspects lead to a spiral of negative thinking, and from there, everything goes downhill. The smallest thing, like going grocery shopping, starts to look like a forage for food during a zombie apocalypse.
You might want to tell someone not to touch your food with boundary setting. However, the negative thoughts in your head will tell you that your boundary will be the reason the recipient starves to death.
Trying to look at the positive side of things makes it easier to set and convey your boundaries. You can easily convey what you need because you already believe that the recipient is a reasonable person, and you’re not subconsciously expecting negative blowback.
Set Distinct Healthy Boundaries With Some Compassion
While boundaries are supposed to keep you healthy and sane, they don’t have to be mean or rigid. It’s virtually impossible to control how people will react to your boundaries.
However, your delivery will play a significant role in the reception. In most cases, some empathy and softness will make it easier for all parties involved.
It’s crucial to set healthy boundaries early in any relationship. This is mainly because boundaries set when you’re at an emotional breaking point can come out harsh and accusatory, leading to a terrible fallout. This will leave you feeling guilty and ready to rescind any boundaries you had stated.
Be Your Biggest Champion
You have to be your biggest champion when setting healthy boundaries, as with any personal wellness goals.
You can start doing so by showing yourself a lot of self-love and self-accountability. This allows you to accept that you’re worthy of the respect and protection that will come from establishing the boundaries.
Engaging in activities that release all those yummy feel-good hormones and keeping your internal dialogue positive is an excellent way to start the self-love journey.
Remember It’s An Ongoing Process
The process is also not the same for everyone, and it might often hit you with unexpected curves. Someone with a history of people pleasing or being gaslit will most likely have a more challenging time compared to someone who is used to being assertive in their relationships.
Healthy boundaries are not set in stone, and the process is ongoing and ever-changing. Over time you may realize that you can let go of some boundaries. Additionally, you might need to reevaluate, tweak, or even set new ones as you interact with new people.
Safeguard Your Space
For those people who prefer a subtler approach, your boundaries can be less abstruse. You can set up passwords on your devices and keep your items in lockable drawers.
Additionally, you can use the out-of-office reminder to safeguard your personal time, set up non-negotiable ‘me times,’ or use the do not disturb feature on your phone when you want to wind down.
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