Boundaries help us define who we are and provides us with a definite sense of self. People who learn how to set personal boundaries thrive because they have created a level of personal control within their life, whereas people who do not set personal boundaries tend to be stressed and overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time to do the things they want.
While setting boundaries and learning to say no is an ideal opportunity to gain a sense of self, it also helps us to rediscover who we are, our personal values, and what’s important to us. Most people have a hard time setting personal boundaries, particularly within their relationships. And, while there are various reasons why people struggle to set personal boundaries the main reason is simply that most people have a hard time saying the word NO. Inevitably, until we set personal boundaries and learn to say no, the quality of our lives — particularly our platonic, family, professional and or romantic relationships — will suffer.
There are several reasons to set personal boundaries, and one reason in particular is to our boost our self-esteem. Self-esteem refers to how we think and feel about ourselves, therefore a boost in our self-esteem will not only make us feel good, but also give us a healthy sense of control in our life. A healthy self-esteem will also give us the right to have an equal footing in our relationships because we’ll be capable of conveying what we do and don’t want to our partners.
Setting Personal Boundaries
One way to begin setting personal boundaries within our relationships is to reflect on our past relationship experiences. Perhaps we can begin by making a list of where we went wrong, then think about what we could have done differently. We’re likely to find that most, if not all, of what we didn’t want happened because we compromised our personal boundaries. Keep in mind, this process should not be rushed, thus allowing for time to identify the unhealthy pattern of our behaviors when it comes to relationships.
After identifying the unhealthy boundaries make a new list of healthy boundaries. Then, take the knowledge gained from the past relationship experiences to illicit the positive changes we want to see . Lastly, decide whether any new boundaries should be added to the list, including those for online dating habits or choosing the right partner.
Following the list of healthy boundaries, take time to consider the exact things that make you, and ONLY YOU, feel good. In spite of how this may sound, this isn’t being self-centered or selfish. In fact, unless we learn to love and respect ourselves, we’ll be incapable of contributing love and happiness to others. In a healthy relationship, happiness begins and ends with SELF. Therefore the more we learn to love who we are as an individual, the more we’ll attract others who are willing to do the same.
Last, but certainly not least, setting personal boundaries requires that we be open to share and communicate our boundaries to others. Whether we are dealing with a family, platonic, professional and or romantic relationship, we need to share our boundaries with others so that are we feel respected and safe in our relationships. It’s particularly important to do this before we encounter problems, and so that each person in the relationship feels heard and safe.
If we don’t discuss our personal boundaries, and just sweep it under the rug without it being dealt with, surely problems will arise. On the other hand, conveying our personal boundaries demonstrates integrity, and promotes an opportunity to create more intimacy within the relationship.
To create and sustain a healthy relationship, we must set healthy boundaries. Yes, a relationship must have some compromise, however not at the sake of compromising one’s self for the sake of a relationship. When we learn to say “No” more often, or just learn to say “Yes” on our terms, we free ourselves from the burden of pleasing others therefore allowing ourselves more time and freedom to do what we feel matters most .
This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post and is republished here with the author’s permission.
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