5 ways to set reasonable boundaries
/Boundaries/ The thin line we draw with faded crayons that smudge easily. The circle within with dots that don’t connect the same depending on who runs in or out. Honestly, boundaries should be some depiction of a healthy dose of self-worth, the type each person should have after they’ve mastered the art of knowing and understanding themselves.
Boundaries aren’t just some Gen x, y. Z or Q line that’s supposed to scream, ‘I take my mental health seriously’ Nah, boundaries aren’t how you tell someone how to ascribe the proper pronoun to you or the correct prefix to your title. Far from it, boundaries spring from a healthy love for yourself and a pledge against all the ways humans take each other for granted.
It’s natural to want to test the limit to how far we’re allowed to roam without intention. It’s human nature to test and attempt to grab an elbow after a few handshakes. We always try to find out if you’d get upset when I call you ‘stupid’ or touch your ‘thighs’ as an act of error. Maybe you wouldn’t notice that I’ve joked twice about your weight or tried to flirt and brush it off, or would you let me litter your car the next time and not apologize for it?
Everyone attempts to test our boundaries in many ways and letting it slide or failing to address it isn’t how you nip the bud of the madness. Here are 5 ways to set reasonable boundaries and perhaps help others when they have amnesia on the basics of courtesy with you. This helps maintain healthy relationships and the risk of burnout and suppressed annoyance depending on your personality.
- Identify your limits: When you understand what makes you tick and causes the hair at the back of your neck to scream, you can identify your limits and what you’re comfortable with or willing to accept. This could include things like how much time you’re ready to spend on work or how much you’re eager to compromise in a relationship. Keynote is that compromise looks different from settling.
- Communicate clearly: Many of my friends believe that I’m assertive, and while I haven’t always been that way, it has saved me a lot of stress and anxiety. Two things would happen when you’re assertive; you find two groups of people; the ones who respect your stance and those who could care less. When setting boundaries, it’s important to communicate them clearly and assertively. Be specific about what you need and why it’s important to you. Do with that knowledge what brings you the most peace.
- Say no when necessary: Feeling guilty for saying no or turning down an offer, event, etc., could be very difficult for most, and you sometimes are enveloped with guilt for doing so, but it’s an essential part of setting boundaries. If something doesn’t align with your values or you can’t take on additional responsibilities, it’s okay to say no. For me, I would take a day on my couch as opposed to that social gathering if my mental health isn’t up for chatter *inserts wink*
- Prioritize self-care: Caring for yourself is crucial for setting and maintaining boundaries. I always say this – how can someone care for you or show you that they’re capable of caring for you if you don’t understand for yourself what that could look or feel like? Make sure to prioritize self-care activities or maybe a day in the week when you destress and do something you love. It could be exercise, spending time with loved ones, and perhaps some Netflix or prime moment. Everyone by now knows that my Saturday evenings are essential for this. I go the extra mile, turn on my chef hat, cook something delightful with my favorite glass of wine, and enjoy the evening. You might want to borrow this kink if you love a peaceful life.
- Be consistent: Setting boundaries is an ongoing process. You might, at specific points, realize that you feel differently about some things than you did before, and it’s okay. It’s essential to be consistent in enforcing your boundaries, even when it’s difficult and even when people choose to want to test you deliberately. This will help ensure that others respect your boundaries and that you can maintain healthy relationships with yourself first and then others.
Practice some healthy boundaries today. Stay conscious that it could also be you testing someone else’s boundaries. Whatever the case, be mindful and kind to others.