Setting Boundaries

 Setting boundaries is an important element to deciding how we react to people. (Alasko, Say This, Not That) Building a healthy boundary system yields the following positive results:

  1. You’ll be able to tolerate your own anxiety and not allow it to push you into making life-changing decisions. You won’t say yes to things that work against your own best interests.
  2. You’ll more easily tolerate other people’s anxiety or pain when you need to slow them down—or stop something going on between you and them altogether.
  3. You won’t invade other people’s spaces and create stress in your relationships. That’s important, because stressful relationships don’t last—or if they do, they create chronic unhappiness.

What are boundaries?

  1. How you interpret other people’s emotions and behaviours
  2. Weak, porous, and unhealthy emotions boundaries: Being upset and brooding “why is she acting that way and what can I do?”
  3. Be thoughtful and compassionate about others
  4. Poor boundaries are if you feel gloomy because your partner feels gloomy

Here are signs you have not set personal boundaries

  1. Saying no when you mean yes or yes when you mean no.
  2. Feeling guilty when you do say no.
  3. Acting against your integrity or values in order to please.
  4. Not speaking up when you have something to say.
  5. Adopting another person’s beliefs or ideas so you are accepted.
  6. Not calling out someone who mistreats you.
  7. Accepting physical touch or sex when you don’t want it.
  8. Allowing yourself to be interrupted or distracted to accommodate another person’s immediate wants or needs.
  9. Giving too much just to be perceived as useful.
  10. Becoming overly involved in someone’s problems or difficulties.
  11. Allowing people to say things to you or in front of you that make you uncomfortable.
  12. Not defining and communicating your emotional needs in your closest relationships.

 10 areas of boundaries 

(Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spiritual )

Space and Privacy
  • Knocking before entering
  • Respecting each other’s space
  • Not opening the others’ mail
Able to be different
  • Preferences for food, movies, music, volume and how we spend time
Able to disagree
  • Making room for each other to think and see life differently
Able to be heard
  • Listening to each other’s’ desire, opinions, thoughts and feelings
Able to be taken seriously
  • Listening and being present to each other
Be given the benefit of the doubt
  • Checking assumptions versus judging others
  • Avoiding misunderstandings
Being told the truth  
Being consulted
  • Checking and asking when decisions will affect others
Be imperfect and make mistakes
  • Room for forgetting things
  • Breaking things
  • Letting each other down unintentionally
  • Failing tests
Being respected
  • Taking one another’s feelings into account

Setting Boundaries – Saying Yes or No to Requests

The important element is to create boundaries. You are yourself and others are others. You are not the slave of others. In psychology, a boundary describes the level of connection between two people and the intensity of the interaction. They are healthy when they are neither too close nor (over-involved or invasive) nor too distant and uncaring. (Alasko, 2014).

Saying no with assurance

The simplest and yet the most important functions of healthy boundaries are the ability to say no without explaining yourself. It’s a sign of a porous, poor functioning emotional boundary when you believe you have to explain your motives and justify your refusal-  Except for your spouse or partner (who does need to know why you’re deciding something); you don’t have to explain anything! Saying no to Fred is just part of being an autonomous adult “Sorry, Fred, But I don’t have time to chat”, that’s all you need to say.

(Gillian Butler, Manage your Mind )

  • Make it clear you appreciate being asked: “Thank you for asking me”, “That’s nice of you”, “I’m really pleased to be asked”
  • Acknowledge the other person’s priorities and wishes: “I know that it is important”; “I understand the difficulty, but …”
  • Give a clear reason for your refusal: “I am already committed to doing …:’, “It would take more time than I’ve got”, “I don’t know how”
  • Help the other person resolve their difficulty. make a suggestion – naming other people, etc. The aim is to find the balance between saying (or thinking) “This is not my problem” and taking on the other people’s problems as they were your own.

(Andy McNab)

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