Boundaries: The catalyst of safe spaces. Whether it’s with strangers, friends, family, colleagues or partners, setting effective boundaries is the best way to feel safe and peaceful. However, it’s easier said than done for many of us. So, if you’ve been struggling with setting boundaries, this article is for you. Check out these simple, yet effective, tips on setting effective boundaries!
Identify and define your boundaries.
Our boundaries are shaped by our culture, personality and our life experiences, so we may need different boundaries to feel safe. Since we’re all different, it’s important to reflect and identify what makes you personally feel safe. Awareness is the first step to everything. It is your right to feel safe and respected. Trust your instincts and set boundaries where it feels right.
Start the conversation.
Once you’ve identified your boundaries, it’s time to talk about them. You can have a casual sit-down with the other party involved and openly tell them about your boundaries. Remember that we are all different so do not expect them to figure out your boundaries on their own. An open conversation is key to understanding one another better. Pay attention to what they say as well, you might learn a lot about their boundaries too when you initiate this conversation, which is an even better outcome than just communicating your own.
State the consequences.
Now that the conversation is flowing, try to explain your boundaries on a deeper level. Try talking about how you feel with the boundaries in place versus without and why they mean a lot to you. Explore your point of view out-loud together and see if you are able to find deeper reasons behind your boundaries. Despite ‘no’ being a complete sentence, having a detailed discussion can help the other person understand your perspective and could open doors to having more safe conversations in the future.
Experiment with boundaries.
Remember, boundaries aren’t set in stone. You can always add, remove or change any of your boundaries over time. We evolve everyday, so allow yourself to change your mind about your boundaries. As time goes by, you may feel more or less comfortable with a person, so adjust your boundaries accordingly. You are never obligated to keep the same boundaries, especially when someone does you wrong. However, just because boundaries can be flexible, it doesn’t mean that they should be taken for granted. Make sure to only adjust your boundaries when it feels right for you to do so.
Now, experimenting and inconsistency aren’t the same thing. When we say be consistent, we mean that if you currently set a certain boundary with someone, make sure to hold them accountable every time they cross it. When you’re 50-50 with consequences, they’ll learn that you aren’t serious about the boundary, and won’t care about it at all. This can also tie in with the guilt we feel when setting a boundary, because we may have been told it isn’t “nice” to do so. An incredibly beautiful quote that helps us in combating the guilt that comes with the consequences is “Boundaries are the distance which I can love you and me simultaneously” by Prentis Hemphill.
You are in control of your own life and you get to make the rules. Keep being assertive and fight for your peace.
- 10 Way to Build and Preserve Better Boundaries by Margarita Tartakovsky, MS via Psychcentral
- How to Set Healthy Boundaries by Joaquín Selva via Positivepsychology.com
- The No BS Guide to Protecting Your Emotional Space by Jennifer Chesak via Healthline.com