It’s been raining in South Texas over the past few days, so it isn’t as hot as it typically is this time of year.
My daughter just started her summer school classes and my son is starting his SAT prep and driver’s permit practice. They are growing up!
Even as they get bigger, we all have to create our boundaries. There aren’t as many when the children are small but now they are teens.
We all need boundaries! This post digs into their importance.
What Are Personal Boundaries?
Personal boundaries are important because they allow you to protect yourself, your ideas, your beliefs, and your self-esteem while in relationships with others. They help you stay true to yourself and your own core values. They also help you ensure that your relationships are mutually respectful.
Personal boundaries are simply limits that we set for ourselves.
As they’re lines that we’re not willing to cross or allow others to cross, you could say that they’re our lines in the sand. These can be emotional, mental, and/or physical boundaries, and they’re unique to each person.
Some people are better at setting personal boundaries than others, but it is a learned skill that you can perfect with practice. To work on this skill, you’ll have to practice setting these with loved ones, friends, and your associates in the workplace. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at it.
If you have difficulty setting boundaries, it may be a manifestation of low self-esteem. People who are timid or not confident may have trouble standing up for themselves or setting expectations or boundaries. If you struggle with this, keep practicing. If you don’t stand up for yourself, no one else will.
You Decide Your Personal Boundaries
Only you can decide what your personal boundaries are. You’ll have to decide how you will react if one has been broken. You may even set boundaries for how you will react to certain situations. For example, you may decide that if someone raises their voice at you during a discussion that you’ll choose to postpone or end the discussion at that point. You may not have a problem with yelling, but your boundary is that name calling isn’t allowed. It’s your life and you’re in control of the boundaries you set.
Family Relationships Need Boundries
If you feel victimized or manipulated in a relationship, there’s a good chance that you haven’t set clear boundaries with this person. You may need to establish some boundaries so that you feel comfortable in the relationship again. Your well-being is important, and it should come before the feelings of others.
Is a parent making you feel unimportant? Is your spouse talking down to you or picky fights? Are your children running over you and being disrespectful? If any of these things are going on, you may need to evaluate your boundaries and then make them clear to those around you.
What’s Your Limits?
Start by figuring out what you’ll tolerate and what the consequences are for not respecting them. After you have that figured out, you can have a conversation with the person you need to set the boundary with and then go from there. If you’re setting a reactionary boundary, or a boundary for how you’ll react to certain situations, there may be no need for a conversation.
Use boundaries in a healthy way to protect yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Use them to ensure you’re in healthy, respectful relationships with people who genuinely love and respect you. It may be difficult to set these with loved ones, but it’s worth it.
How to Set Boundaries with Your Family
Setting boundaries can be more difficult when it involves your family.
Since family dynamics are formed over a long period of time, it can take longer for family members to respect and abide by any rules you set. They could laugh your wishes off as a phase or think that you’ll get tired of trying to enforce it and give up. Not all family members will challenge you, but some may. Family dynamics are complicated, and only you will be able to decide what you’re willing to deal with and what you’re not willing to deal with.
You may also choose to give a grace period if you’re setting a major boundary, or you might decide that you want to be respected immediately. You’re the only person who can decide the best way to deal with your family. If you need some guidelines, there are some things you can do to help make it easier for you to start setting your boundaries.
Determine Your Boundaries
The first thing you need to do is decide what your boundaries are. What are you willing to put up with? What do you need for your family to know so that you feel loved and respected? Is there a current problem you need to address? Once you know what you need to set, you can be more effective communicating them to others.
Believe that You Matter
You matter, and you’re worth the work it will take to set boundaries with your family. If you’re reading this, you already know there are some boundaries you need to set. Do yourself a favor and stand firm.
Be Polite and Assertive when You Identify Your Boundary
The best way to set a boundary is to be direct and polite. Don’t make a big deal out of things, just be direct when you communicate your boundary.
Plan Your Response to Boundary Crossers
Before setting a boundary, decide your esponse if that boundary is violated. Will you repeat your request? Will you distance yourself from the person? Will you avoid contact with this person in the future? With family, things can be complicated, but if you know ahead of time how you plan to react, it’ll be easier.
Stand Your Ground
If someone tries to test your boundary, stand firm. You don’t have to give in to someone just because they’re family. If someone violates your boundary, let them know that they have done so and restate your boundary. Don’t let someone run over you.
Be Prepared for Resistance
When you set a boundary, know that there could be resistance. People don’t like rules, and some people, especially emotionally immature people, will resist any boundary set for them. This may also be a result of any previous family dynamics where you may not have set any boundaries in the past. Your family member may guilt trip you or get angry.
Be Prepared to Cut Ties or Set Stronger Ones for Repeat Violators
If someone repeatedly violates your established rules, you have two choices: set stronger boundaries with them or cut ties. You can only put up with being disrespected for so long, even if it’s family. Your mental health is more important than to allow toxic people to stay in your life.
Setting boundaries takes practice, so don’t give up if you’re not successful on your first try. It is more challenging to set boundaries with family, so be prepared. Once you set your boundaries, you’ll be glad you did.
Loving Life—The Reboot!