Setting boundaries in relationships is vital to your health and overall wellbeing. It will help you navigate life in a more comfortable and controllable way. Boundaries are amazing in that they can be created and adjusted over time. But if you fail to create boundaries, you run the risk of being put in some crappy situations.
What are Boundaries
Boundaries are a set of rules that will guide and protect you in many of life’s situations. It’s a framework to follow that gives you power and control over your own life. Boundaries can help all areas of your life, but some key areas include:
When it comes to setting boundaries in relationships, the word “no” is as crucial to use as saying “yes”.
Saying no is difficult for many people, and if you are one of them, this is where you need to start. People feel like saying no will be detrimental to their relationships, but I would argue that being a yes person will burn you out and create resentment in your relationships.
The trick is to know when you should be saying no. If you are asked to do something that makes you uncomfortable or something that you don’t have time for, then absolutely say no.
If you are just fine with the request but are just being lazy, then stop being an ass and go help that person. There is a difference between setting a healthy boundary and being a bad friend.
There is also a difference between boundaries and control. Boundaries are rules for you to follow. Setting boundaries is not about controlling someone else. It is something to keep you in control of your life and your comfort level.
Everyone is different and will have different comfort levels for different situations. If your boundary violates someone else’s boundary, then you must respect their boundary. In the same way, you should uphold your own boundary if their boundary is in violation of your own.
An example of this is if you are practicing intermittent fasting and you are not in your eating window. Those around you should respect the boundary and not try to force you to eat and break your fast.
Benefits of Setting Boundaries in Relationships
Setting boundaries in relationships is as much about the relationship with yourself as it is about your relationship with those around you. The benefits of setting these boundaries will have a profound impact on your life.
Better Relationship with Yourself
In order to set boundaries, you need to be a bit reflective and self-aware of your thoughts and feelings. If you notice something in your life is wrong and doesn’t feel right, then that is a good place to investigate and potentially set a boundary.
Being able to prioritize your own well-being will help you feel comforted and in control of your life. You can feel a sense of peace within because you know that you are taking care of yourself.
Learning to say no to things that make you uncomfortable will increase the trust you have in yourself. There is something peaceful about knowing that you have your own back. It will lead to less stress and more enjoyment in your life.
As you develop your boundaries and your ability to say no, you will develop a better understanding of yourself. As you develop this understanding, you will gain more compassion for yourself. By having more compassion for yourself, you will grow your ability to have compassion for others as well.
Setting Boundaries in Relationships with Others
Setting boundaries can feel scary, especially at the thought of saying no to a loved one. If you have been a pushover for most of your life, you may feel weird or get some pushback from those around you. This is to be expected and it is alright.
The people that you want in your life are the people that respect your boundaries and love you for who you are. Let’s say you have a friend that calls you only to talk about themselves and their problems. Emotionally draining you during every conversation, but never allowing you to talk about yourself.
Setting a boundary with this type of person can anger them because they have been using you as an emotional barometer. The other person will have to make a decision. If they value the relationship, they will respect your boundary. If they do not, they were never really your friend.
Now let’s say you never spoke up in the first place and you let this friend consistently talk about themselves and their issues. You never get a chance to speak up and talk about your life. Over time this will lead to resentment and create a sense of anger. As you realize you are being taken advantage of, you will start to speak to them less or get more resentful of them as the relationship continues. This is not the mark of a healthy relationship.
Setting boundaries in relationships can help prevent future conflict with people as well. When the people around you know where you have drawn the line, they will typically not try to cross that line. If they do cross the line, you can hold them accountable and determine the best path forward.
When to Set Boundaries
Boundaries can be set at any point in a relationship, but it is best done at the beginning. By setting a clear boundary at the beginning of a relationship, you are signaling to the other person that you respect yourself and aren’t willing to do something that makes you uncomfortable.
Setting boundaries early in the relationship, it will allow your relationship to grow deeper. When you give people the opportunity to respect your boundaries, and they meet those expectations, it will strengthen the relationship.
Life is too short to let people take advantage of you or make you uncomfortable. Setting boundaries in relationships will lead to better relationships and a happier life.
Steve values healthy food, exercise, and the relationships around him. It is his mission to pass his knowledge to help those who may be struggling with their own issues. When not writing or researching content, he enjoys spending time with his family, running, hiking, and anything tech related.