Like Brene Brown said, “When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.”
Healthy boundaries are not only essential for self-preservation, but they’re imperative for improving the quality of your life.
Here are a few questions to mull over: How many times have you felt used? Have you ever felt like you were mistreated?
Many of us, myself included, can answer a giant YES to both questions above.
Why may you ask?
Because we failed in a particular situation to maintain healthy boundaries.
Now many of us, myself included in the past, may cringe when we think of setting boundaries.
Because it can be uncomfortable. But it only is uncomfortable because we may be new to this type of routine maintenance that is needed in our lives.
We may feel like we’re being too cut throat when we set boundaries or that we’re just being unrealistic with the given situation.
The truth is: When you fail to set boundaries you end up disrespecting yourself and allowing external factors to negatively influence you.
Let’s back track a bit and define and explore what healthy personal boundaries are:
A Healthy Personal Boundary are the physical, emotional and mental limits we define to protect ourselves from being used, manipulated, or even violated by others. Boundaries are the cornerstone of what allows us to distinguish who we are, what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others.
For example: I’ve been in a few social situations where I was the butt of the joke. Not in a good way. Certain jokes were made at my expense, and the jokes were made in front of me.
So, you may ask: How did this happen?
Well it’s simple: Because I let it.
In the situation above not once did I speak up for myself and say that I don’t appreciate being the butt of the joke, especially, when my feelings were being hurt.
But let’s just say, you face a more complicated or complex situation. Like dealing with an addict, or a family member who is constantly taking advantage of you. What then?
How do you establish healthy boundaries with those who habitually violate your own boundaries?
1. Stop and Self-Check
Take a moment and think about how you feel when you’re around someone who drains your energy and/or upsets you, or someone with whom you feel you lose yourself.
How does this feel in your body? What about your mind? How does the presence of this person affect you?
Now take another moment and evaluate your feelings. Are they healthy feelings you want to have? Or are they feelings of indifference and resentment?
Use these feelings as a gauge to assess whether or not your personal boundaries are being violated. How you feel when you’re around a particular person is excellent feedback on whether or not your energy is about to be drained or if you’re in the clear.
Creating this self-awareness of how you feel when you’re around a certain person or even a specific place is way to proactively assess a potential breach to your personal boundaries.
Remember when your personal boundaries are not well defined or guarded, you end up giving your energy and time to forces that drain you.
To preserve healthy boundaries in our relationships it’s crucial that we create a compassionate connection with ourselves first. By doing this, you get heart centered.
And when you’re heart centered, you come from a place that is authentic and unapologetic. You honor yourself in every situation possible. And by creating this strong connection with yourself, it keeps you from being swept up in other people’s chaos.
There are many ways you can start connecting with yourself daily. Here are a few quick ideas:
- Say a prayer or mantra in the morning
- Offer a blessing or wish yourself well each day
3. Draining Forces
When you actively create an awareness of how you feel when you’re around a specific person or place, you can best prepare for the interaction.
If you know that you’re going to be around someone that drains your energy or expose yourself to a place that does the same, take a moment to prepare before you engage with the draining forece. You can imagine yourself armed with your boundaries and an awareness that YOU Matter.
By creating an awareness that you’re going to be around a person or place that drains your energy, you can effectively manage your personal boundaries with your needs in mind.
These 3 steps will help you create healthy boundaries, which can be an uncomfortable thing to do. But just remember, setting healthy boundaries is like a muscle – the more you use it the easier and stronger it becomes.