Healthy Relationships: Getting Better at Setting Boundaries
I think sometimes we overshare because we think that’s what we’re supposed to do.
I think sometimes we allow people to vent for too long because we’d feel like a bad friend if we stopped them.
I think sometimes we continue exposing ourselves to unworthy people because were terrified of disconnection.
We violate our boundaries when we partake in experiences that are at the cost of ourselves.
We can even feel like we are (betraying ourselves) when we do finally recognise our boundaries but continue to violate them.
But what if we had to betray ourselves in order to survive?
What if our caregivers withheld love from us when we stood our ground about something?
What if we were punished or shamed for having limits or needs?
What if no one taught us or modelled how to stay connected to ourselves while we connect to others?
These are all extremely valid reasons why anyone would be terrified of having boundaries.
If you resonate with of this, I encourage you to start gently.
I invite you to honour the magnitude of resistance that will likely be present for you as you begin this practice.
Setting new boundaries may trigger painful feelings from your past.
It can bring up times when your boundaries were (not) allowed to exist.
That is normal and expected.
Below is a list of some things we might like to incorporate as we get better and better at setting boundaries.
1. Most people are not intentionally trying to violate our boundaries.
Most people are just living their own lives and engaging with us in the same way they engage with everyone else. Knowing that can help to soften our anger and frustration with those who continuously violate our boundaries. With that said, it’s still essential we speak our limits.
2. The way we express a boundary is just as important as how someone responds to it.
It’s easy to start to feel “entitled” when we start to become clearer on our boundaries. But let’s always try to remember how helpful it is when someone incorporates kindness when approaching us with their own boundaries.
3. Resistance to our boundaries can sometimes be a person’s fear of losing connection with us.
It takes time to adjust to change. If we spent every day talking with someone and have now clarified a new boundary to speak much less, let’s also make it okay for the other person to feel disappointed with the new changes. They are human too. They deserve the right to feel their feelings as they adjust to our boundaries.
4. Some don’t know the term “boundary” and need it to be explained more simply.
“When you cut me off, I feel unseen. Could you please not do that?”
That’s a simple way to express boundaries.
It can be more helpful than saying “you’re not honoring my boundaries during our conversations.”
Keep it simple.
5. Explaining our process can be very helpful for new and drastic boundaries. This one is super important for the big ones. For our important relationships.
I know this is hard.”
“I miss things the way they were before too.”
“This is hard for me too.”
Could you express that differently?
Could you bring your tone down a bit so I could stay present?
I really need my perspective validated before I can go on.
Lets please take time out and hold hands for a while.
I need to take a little break, I’ll come back to you in 30 minutes.
Taking the time to reveal the vulnerability underneath our boundaries, and to continue to show our love towards someone, can sometimes be the very thing that can make or break a relationship.
These wise words were written by Silvy Khoucasain