Why Boundaries Are Necessary.
Relationships are the corner stones of our lives. We are wired for love, connection and belonging. One of the reasons why relationships have issues are boundaries. We usually are not clear on what to expect, what to allow, what to accommodate and what we ought to tolerate in our lives.
“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated” – Brené Brown
I remember one time, when my sister-friend called to tell me that she wants me to accompany her for parental consent (she was about to show her fiancé to her her parents). She was going to gist me about her fiancé but I didn’t probe. After we finished talking about my availability, she then asked me why I wasn’t “curious” to know. I told her I’m just chilling to get the full gist because she was going to tell me by herself and besides, I was at work that day and didn’t want to draw attention to myself.
Truth is, I have learnt to respect people’s boundaries. I set many of them and totally appreciate it when people do respect mine, so it’s just normal that I reciprocate the respect.
What boundaries are.
“Boundaries are a part of self-care. They are healthy, normal and necessary” – Doreen Virtue
Boundaries are a demonstration of self respect and respect for others. It keeps us safe from internal and external intrusion.
In setting boundaries, nobody decides what works for you but YOU. People will always have opinions of what you can or should do but they don’t know what works for you than you so, you shouldn’t hand them that authority over your own life.
It’s usually tough setting boundaries for things you once allowed for a long time. This is because the people who you’ve allowed to act some way towards you would feel bad after you have defined your boundaries about how you want them to now act around you. It might be hard at the beginning, but it usually worth it in the long run.
We find people fail in honoring our boundaries. We often get worried why these people disrespect us, and act in ways we do not appreciate. Here are a few things to do to avoid that.
- Define your boundaries. You need to get clear on how you have allowed others behave towards you or use you in ways you do not appreciate. Make a list of what you don’t want to be said around you, and behaviors you won’t tolerate anymore. Be very clear on them and write them down.
- Announce your boundaries. Inform others, your friends, family and everyone you think should know what you now stand for and won’t tolerate because where there is no law, there is no sin.
- Create consequences for violating your boundaries. This is very important especially to people who you’ve allowed to treat you in ways you do not appreciate. They are going to fight back and not take you seriously even after you have announced your boundaries to them. That’s absolutely fine, but ensure you stand by your words and enforce the consequences when people violate them. Don’t keep re-drawing the lines for people after they have crossed the first one. STOP shifting the goal post for them. And because your boundaries might be new to them, it’s only okay that you reinforce your boundaries with a reminder but still ensure that they face the consequences for violating your boundaries. If you don’t do that, they won’t take you seriously.
The consequences don’t have to be very grave. Let’s assume you don’t always feel comfortable being called any name other than your real name, and you’re trying to announce your boundaries to a friend, you could go this way,
“Hey Alex, I don’t appreciate it when you call me names that are not mine. It makes me feel some way that I’m not comfortable with. I know that I have allowed you call me other names that aren’t mine in the past, and that’s okay but going forward, please, ensure to call me by my name when you need my attention because if you don’t, we might end up not having a conversation”.
The above is just a rough template on how you can state your boundaries to a friend/colleague. Don’t ignore your boundaries because they keep you safe.
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