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  • Ela Senghera

5 Ways to Build and Maintain Your Boundaries

Have you ever tried to say ‘’NO’’ to their request but ended up saying YES instead? You are not alone - boundaries are not easy especially if you are someone who is an empath, a helper or a natural giver. Boundaries are something we all know we need to get good at but we too often get stuck on how to do it !

Yet boundaries are tremendously important to the health of every relationship, so it's really important to understand what they are and why we need them, and what is that deeper motive of setting a boundary and how to deal with feelings of guilt when we set a new boundary?

So what are Boundaries?

Boundaries are simply the lines we draw for ourselves in terms of our level of comfort around others. Understanding how to set personal limits is essential for building and maintaining healthy relationships. Setting boundaries is simply about communicating your needs for healthy interaction to someone else. It is a vital part of establishing one’s identity and is a crucial aspect of mental health and wellbeing.

In any relationship, boundaries define things like our personhood, our identity, our responsibilities, and where our control begins and where it ends relative to the other person.

Boundaries can be physical or emotional. Some examples of boundaries are :

Physical boundaries, which include:

  • your needs for personal space

  • your comfort with touch

  • your need to rest, eat or drink

Physical boundaries protect your space and body, for example your right to not be touched, to have privacy, and to meet your physical needs such as resting or eating.

Emotional boundaries are to protect your own emotional well-being. Emotional or mental boundaries protect your right to have your own feelings and thoughts, to not have your feelings criticised or invalidated, and not have to take care of other people’s feelings.

Examples of emotional boundaries can be:

1) “I don't feel comfortable discussing this…”

2) “I feel embarrassed when you criticise me in front of our kids. Please can you not do that”

3) “I feel hurt and misunderstood by you in this conversation…”

Not everyone may like or understand your boundaries or your reasons for setting them. However it’s your responsibility to set them regardless. It’s your responsibility to draw that line and to be consistent with it. So if you don’t set your boundaries, you cannot expect other people to follow them..

As healthy boundaries are a crucial component of self-care, it is only reasonable to keep them all the time. When you understand how to set and maintain healthy boundaries, you can avoid the feelings of resentment, disappointment and anger that builds up whenever your limits have been pushed. In other words, a lack of healthy boundaries can negatively affect all aspects of your life. Setting healthy boundaries has many benefits, including helping people make decisions based on what is best for them, not just the people around them. This autonomy is an important part of self-care and forms foundations in maintaining healthy dynamics in relationships.

Below are some examples of healthy relationship boundaries:

1) Expecting others to communicate with maturity during disagreements

2) Asking for personal space and quiet when you're working

3) Voicing your concerns rather than holding onto resentment

4) Letting go of codependency and having your own identity

Setting boundaries helps us to look after ourselves. People with solid boundaries frequently experience lower levels of stress and higher levels of self-esteem. However, those who lack boundaries could unintentionally allow others to exploit them. When you know how to establish and uphold appropriate boundaries, you can prevent future resentment, disappointment, and anger.

Here are 5 Ways to Build and Maintain Your Boundaries:

  1. Openly Communicate Your Limits In the world of boundaries, communication is essential. People sometimes think that others already know their boundaries. But how would they know that if nobody clearly explain to them where they drew the line?

  2. Set Your Boundaries Early Starting to set boundaries can often be incredibly hard, especially in pre-existing relationships. It's easier and better for your relationships if you can set boundaries at the begging of a relationship. This way, everyone will know where they stand and avoid pain, confusion or arguments. Don't evr change or remove your boundaries to accommodate someone else's comfort. While it may be awkward or uncomfortable at first, a person who truly wants to be in your life will respect your decision.

  3. Reiterate and Uphold Your Boundaries Letting your boundaries slip can cause uncertainty and cause new demands and expectations. The first time around, not everyone will recognize or respect your boundaries. When necessary, gently remind them of your needs. Try to maintain consistency and stability. This will help reinforce the initial limits that you’ve set.

  4. Set Aside Time for Self-reflection Self-care can seem selfish or even trivial in our fast-paced environment. Spending time by yourself is associated with increased self-assurance, creativity, emotional intelligence, and ability to self-regulate. It's crucial to comprehend why each boundary is significant to you and how it will improve your emotional wellbeing. Take some time to investigate your own mind. Remember, healthy boundaries and self-care are not selfish. It's your responsibility to protect your health and wellbeing.

  5. Don’t Be Afraid to Say ''No'' 'No' is a strong word. People who don't know how to say "no" frequently find themselves overwhelmed with commitments that they are unable to handle. As they desperately try to meet the demands of all the people and things they say "yes" to, they frequently neglect their own needs. Ability to say "no" is a skill, one that many of us needs to practice. You have the authority to decide how to use your time and resources.

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