Everyone needs some personal space, so it is natural for an individual to set boundaries. Through boundaries, we communicate with others designating what we deem acceptable and proper; we show what kind of treatment we expect. Clearly defined boundaries are very important for relationships, especially at their initial stage. Boundaries ensure the person’s safety and allow him or her to maintain control. On occasion, we may put aside our interests when faced with requests from other people; we believe that refusing help would be regarded as selfish and unsociable, even if help means a lot of trouble unnecessary for us. This is where your boundaries ought to work.
How exactly do boundaries work?
Boundaries defend us from the outside atmosphere, from others’ impulses and opinions; they make you feel sure of yourself, empowered, secure; they make you believe things are going the right way. When you are irritated or insecure and may attack somebody, they will help you hold yourself well in hand.
When you have strong boundaries:
- you are free to communicate your needs
- you stand by your beliefs
- you are not induced to unprofitable compromise easily
- you can refuse when a refusal is necessary
- you recognize and accept other people’s boundaries.
Those who know themselves profoundly are aware of their priorities and, consequently, where they need boundaries and why. They realize where they need to feel secure and how to guarantee the best comfort for them.
Define your basic principles and values
You have to know what brand of person you are and what things in life you really appreciate. The better you understand yourself the better you can maintain healthy communication with those around you. Mind that boundaries should be set up around you rather than around the problematic issues that you have.
You may need small but significant boundaries – like muting your smartphone incoming messages notification. It will not mean that you will be hiding from your relatives and friends; it is about answering messages when it is convenient for you without unnerving yourself unnecessarily for smaller obligations.
Divide things in your life and separate those you really need to be happy
There may be found things that don’t really relate to you and which you would rather reject. You may explain why you refuse to do them, or, on the other hand, omit explaining if you don’t feel like it. You really needn’t do it!
Express your personal boundaries
People close to you surely need to be aware of your personal boundaries, so you need to be able to show them – do it with due respect but with due assertion, too. It will help clarify your relationships and make them more wholesome.
Everyone needs to be able to communicate his or her opinions and emotions, say so if they feel discomfited, transmit what they need to be comfortable and safe.
Set your boundaries early
If you install your boundaries at the early stage of relationships, other people will learn your expectations faster and will know what you stop at – this helps dodge misunderstandings and unnecessary debates.
Have the consequences defined well in advance
How should we react if there is somebody who will overstep the boundaries? It’s better to be prepared for that eventuality! Decide on the consequences in advance pondering in a quiet place and minding yourself – for boundaries are supposed to protect our needs while at the same time allowing other people to make their own choices. It could be advisable to write down your possible responses to different kinds of possible trespassing.
Express yourself through your actions and not through words
Make sure people around you know your boundaries – and then behave accordingly. Inevitably some will try to bend and break your limits – and it’s a sign of proper behavior if you don’t overreact. In a way it’s normal for boundaries to be tried; they represent your strong beliefs so you don’t get too emotional or flare up every time it happens.
Take your time
Should it occur that you are caught flat-footed and it’s uncomfortable to say no although you want to, play for time and say that you need to think and you will get back to the person later. Then you can take your time considering in what way comfortable to you to refuse. You can simply text your refusal.
Learn to say no without guilt
Boundaries imply the ability to refuse without providing explanations if you deem them unnecessary.
Mind that boundaries are inefficient if not consistent
Boundaries often require time before people around you let your needs and opinions sink in. Also, a certain amount of repetition may be necessary for reminders. When people have realized that you are consistent about your limits, they will help build respectful and reliable relationships.
How can a workaholic set about establishing boundaries?
- Keep to established working hours (with a lunch break) and don’t break the schedule
- Introduce self-care measures to be taken before the work day begins
- When spending time with friends and relatives, don’t get distracted by your phone
- Let your colleagues know that there are times when you cannot be reached
- Locate a spot in your home where you will invariably work – but nothing comfy like the bed or the sofa
- Keep track of your stress level and if it increases, delegate away some of your duties
- Pick up an activity that has nothing to do with work
- When you get back from work, change into home clothes to draw a psychological barrier between work and home life
- As your laptop closes, make a resolution to call it a day and switch off work
Workaholism can develop into a grave issue just because of the absence of boundaries in terms of working time.
How can we tell when the boundaries are inefficient?
- You feel hurt very quickly and take it very strongly, although your boundary-breakers may be strangers.
- You cannot assert or defend yourself for being afraid to offend the other guy.
- You are surrounded by too many toxic people.
- It is easier for you to give, but receiving makes you embarrassed.
- As a conversation starts, you avoid talking about yourself or are easily prevented from it by others.
Boundaries around your personality are great for directing your self-development and maintaining healthy relationships. You are naturally limited in time, emotions, and efforts, and it’s up to you to allocate and protect them when necessary.
So when you have firm and clear-cut boundaries, you can manage your life better and reap your rewards for good management.