Build Your Boundaries
Understanding how to set personal limits is essential for building and maintaining healthy relationships. Setting boundaries for yourself and honoring the boundaries of others isn’t a textbook science, but you can learn ways to take charge of your life. Whether you want to set clearer rules with your family or assert your space when it comes to strangers, here’s how to get started.
Know that you have a right to personal boundaries.
You not only have the right, but you must take responsibility for how you allow others to treat you. Your boundaries act as filters permitting what is acceptable in your life and what is not. If you don't have boundaries that protect and define you, as in a strong sense of identity, you tend to derive your sense of worth from others. To avoid this situation, set clear and decisive limits so that others will respect them, then be willing to do whatever it takes to enforce them. Interestingly, it's been shown that those who have weak boundaries themselves tend to violate the boundaries of others.
Identify the actions and behaviors that you find unacceptable.
Let others know when they've crossed the line, acted inappropriately, or disrespected you in any way. Do not be afraid to tell others when you need emotional and physical space. Allow yourself to be who you really are without pressure from others to be anything else. Know what actions you may need to take if your wishes aren't respected.
Trust and believe in yourself.
You are the highest authority on you. You know yourself best. You know what you need, want, and value. Don't let anyone else make the decisions for you. Healthy boundaries make it possible for you to respect your strengths, abilities and individuality as well as those of others. An unhealthy imbalance occurs when you encourage neediness, or are needy; want to be rescued, or are the rescuer, or when you choose to play the victim.
Signs of Unhealthy Boundaries
Going against personal values or rights in order to please others
Giving as much as you can for the sake of giving
Taking as much as you can for the sake of taking
Letting others define you
Expecting others to fill your needs automatically
Feeling bad or guilty when you say no
Not speaking up when you are treated poorly
Falling apart so someone can take care of you
Falling "in love" with someone you barely know or who reaches out to you
Accepting advances, touching and sex that you don't want
Touching a person without asking
When we possess healthy personal boundaries:
✔ We have improved self-confidence and a healthy self-concept
✔ We are more in touch with reality
✔ Are better able to communicate with others
✔ Have better more fulfilling relationships
✔ Have more stability and control over our lives
It is never too late to work on establishing healthy personal boundaries.