Creating and maintaining healthy boundaries is important to anyone’s mental health and well-being. Doing so can help you avoid some unhealthy boundary feelings such as anger, resentment, or disappointment that usually build up when you have been pushed to your limits. It’s an essential part of taking care of oneself that we often take for granted.
Though most people know what the word “boundaries” means, not everyone has a clear idea of what they are. It’s a common misconception to think of boundaries as something like a wall to keep people out or to separate oneself from others. But they are actually more like invisible connecting points in a way that they help us in navigating our relationships with other people whether it be personal or professional.
Boundaries are not clear-cut lines that are easily identified by everyone. This is why it takes effort to create and maintain them. But while it can be challenging, it is worth it. It will help you conserve your emotional energy, give you more independence and agency, improve healthy relationships and ultimately, help you improve your well-being.
They can be emotional boundaries, physical boundaries, personal boundaries, psychological, and financial boundaries. A healthy boundary falls somewhere in between too rigid and too loose. People who have healthy boundaries are usually the ones who are able to make their expectations clear. For example, you are able to establish what behavior from other people is acceptable to you and at the same time establish what other people can expect from you.
Helpful Tips to Create and Maintain Healthy Boundaries
If you are one of those people who struggle in setting and maintaining healthy boundaries or effectively practicing them, here are some of the effective approaches you can try:
Take some time to ponder what these boundaries mean to you.
For you to successfully create and maintain boundaries, it helps to understand why they are each important to you and what they can do to your well-being. Usually, many things happen to us and for some reason, we feel uncomfortable yet we couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason why. The first step in having healthy boundaries in any situation is taking some time to ponder and understand what is happening to you.
Take baby steps.
It can be overwhelming to create boundaries, especially when you really haven’t tried setting them to begin. What you can do is start small and build them up slowly. This way it is more sustainable and you also have time to think about if you are going in the direction you wanted or if you need to make some changes.
Start early on.
It is a lot easier to set boundaries early on in any relationship whether it be personal or professional. By establishing boundaries and proper expectations from the very start, everyone is aware of their place, and it can save you from misunderstandings, frustrations, and hurt feelings.
Consistency is key.
You can’t expect people to know where they stand if you are not consistent with your boundaries. It can confuse them and create new demands and expectations. Being consistent ensures the lines you’ve set stays clearly established.
Learn to say NO.
We often put an unnecessary obligation on ourselves to say “YES” all the time. Sometimes, we just say yes because we really don’t know how to refuse or what excuse to say. But know that you can say no without an explanation or an excuse. For instance, if you don’t feel like going out with your coworkers you can always decline the invitation without any specific solid reason.
Speak out when someone is consistently overstepping your boundaries. But do so in a non-confrontational manner. Sometimes all it takes is for you to raise your concern in a respectable way for you to let someone know and respect your boundaries.
Safeguard your spaces.
Setting boundaries for your physical, emotional and personal spaces can be done even without verbalizing it. Technology makes this possible and easier too. You can use passwords, codes, etc. Set an “out of office” responder on email or social media accounts when you’re on vacation.
While technology allows us to safeguard our spaces, it can also be used to violate your boundaries and exert control. This is especially true in romantic relationships where technology is used to monitor or manipulate.
It is important to understand that as an adult you have the right to keep your messages private and safeguard your personal tech and accounts. This is why you should talk early on with your partners about what your expectations are when it comes to your tech spaces.
Pair up with a boundary buddy.
If you know a good friend who is also having boundary issues, it might be a good time to get together and see if you could hold each other accountable as you’re getting used to practicing boundaries. You can share the moments where you practiced boundaries and talk about how well you did, or how much better you could do the next time in a similar circumstance. Having a boundary buddy makes it easier to not feel alone and it’s always great to have a sounding board with someone who could relate to you like your friends, family. While you encourage each other respectfully through the practice of boundaries, the two of you could find yourselves getting used to implementing boundaries like it’s second nature.
Important Things to Keep in Mind When Setting and Maintaining Boundaries.
While having boundaries is important, taking it too far or overthinking it can also be detrimental to your emotional health and well-being. Do not let boundaries dictate you. It is meant for you to have control over your emotional, physical and mental space, not the other way around. Sometimes you just have to go with your instinct.
Another thing to remember is that self-love is important for boundaries to have a strong foundation. If you feel unworthy or undeserving, chances are it will be hard for you to set boundaries to protect yourself. A person who has healthy boundaries in his or her personal and professional relationships usually is someone who knows his or her worth and value.
If ever you are struggling with setting and maintaining boundaries, you might want to spend some time thinking about what is holding you back or resolve some past issues. You might also want to do activities that will feed your soul or release happy hormones like exercise and doing something you are passionate about.
Reiki is also a helpful tool in creating healthy boundaries. It helps you invite more consciousness into your life and from there, you can learn how to love yourself unconditionally. When you are more self-aware, the more healthy boundaries you will require so that others will treat you better. It’s important to note that Reiki only carries positive energy and is always healing for the good of anyone in any state. In addition to Reiki, a more advanced type of safe energy healing that I offer is Intuitive Energy Healing with a focus on emotional release, which helps effectively with resolving old wounds and mental blockages so that you can set and practice boundaries from a cleaner slate.
Ultimately, Reiki and Intuitive Energy Healing are wonderful tools to help you practice self-care and self-love. When you learn to love yourself, it will guide you to creating and practicing healthy boundaries. Now, who’s ready to get started?