The Beauty Of Setting Boundaries In Relationships
As a therapist, I see many people allow certain behaviors within different types of relationships because they simply do not understand the meaning of implementing boundaries. Now, after I describe what this means, few may think that it aligns too closely to being selfish or mean, but that’s not the case. Implementing boundaries helps a person not allow things to happen in their life that they deem unacceptable or they feel will interfere with their happiness.
Implementing boundaries helps a person to take control of their own life. Putting a boundary in place means you let a person know what you will allow, what you won’t allow and being able to put your happiness first in making decisions for yourself.
For example, if you don’t want to do something, it is okay to say no. This doesn’t apply to work-related responsibilities, but it applies to your personal life and relationships. Learning to say no can not only protect you from being taken advantage of, but it also helps you not get yourself into things you do not want to do. It can also help set the tone in relationships going forward. It’s okay to say no when someone asks you for money, or asks you to stay in your home. It’s okay to say no if someone asks for your time and you do not feel like you want to spend it with them. Don’t guilt trip yourself because you didn’t do something that you weren’t okay with. People often lie instead of just saying how they truly feel. But if you don’t respect your own feelings, who will?
Boundaries also help to protect your happiness. In relationships, I notice that people will allow behaviors that they know are unacceptable or either make them unhappy, but will complain about them instead of establishing a boundary. Holding your feelings in instead of letting them be known to your friend or partner in a respectful way is detrimental you. It is crucial to put your feelings first because you are the first one and only one to experience them. This is why letting your feelings be known through establishing boundaries is crucial because if you harbor those feelings, you will most likely end of resenting that person for not considering feelings that they in fact knew nothing about. Now if they get angry after you have established this boundary, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you were wrong because you are not wrong for the way you feel. Honestly, their anger is not your problem.
Another important thing to understand about boundaries is that in relationships it’s not your job to fix anyone else’s problems. Inserting yourself into other people’s conflicts causes more stress for you and is an example of overstepping your own boundaries. Lending an empathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on will suffice.
The beauty of setting boundaries is that it allows you to protect yourself from mental distress and unhealthy relationships. Boundaries reinforce the idea that you are entitled to you own feelings, values and opinions and you don’t have to compromise yourself for anyone else to be happy. Implementing boundaries is not selfish, it’s self-care.