A boundary sets the standard for how you want to be treated and communicates with others what’s ok and what’s not ok with you. Boundaries vary on a spectrum. We may have really rigid or quite flexible boundaries. And whilst these extremes may be suited for certain scenarios, generally, we like to sit in the middle and have healthy and adaptable boundaries. There is more than one type of boundary.
Healthy boundaries can be the difference between healthy and happy relationships and toxic and distressing relationships. For more information on what makes a healthy and a not so healthy relationship please read our previous blog on “Red Flags” and “Green Flags” in relationships here. Having our own personal boundaries and understanding and respecting other’s boundaries is super important for maintaining a healthy autonomous identity and respecting relationships. What are other reasons boundaries are important?
But sometimes we can struggle setting healthy boundaries because of certain barriers. Below are just a few examples of how people may neglect boundaries. So, what are these barriers.
Being able to communicate our boundaries is critical for our mental health and wellbeing. However, it can be really challenging to assert boundaries. We may find ourselves not wanting to do something but feeling obligated to do so. Especially with people who are dominating or when we really want them to like us. Also, if we have never been encouraged to set boundaries it can feel awkward at first. But like the quote at the top of this page, if someone values us as a person and respects our individual identity they will not be bothered, offended or upset by our boundaries.
Below are examples of how we can respectfully communicate our boundaries with others. For more… Psychology Today published a great article about setting healthy boundaries in close relationships. Read it here! It is important to remember, the more we begin setting boundaries, the more confident we will feel doing so and we can start to believe, “Hey I am somebody too! And I don’t owe anyone anything.” We will also see our social circle and relationships change as those who were perhaps trying to take advantage of us step back.
To set boundaries, keep it simple, like the examples below. There is no need to feel like you need to over explain yourself. Further, keep the boundary on yourself, like, what you feel comfortable doing/ not doing. Don’t put it back on the other person about what they should be/ should not be doing. And remember communicating your boundaries is helping you to feel responsible, in control and proactive about your life. So what do boundary setting statements sound like?
Boundary setting with kids and in a family can be a whole different “ball park”. For more information on this, please read beyond blue’s article here.
Boundaries can be really challenging if we aren’t in a mentally strong place. That is why we are here! If you are struggling with boundaries seeing a psychologist can help to build your awareness around yourself and what boundaries you need and your confidence in setting them. Boundaries are a very important skill which can help you to be self-aware and have strong self-respect and self-compassion.
To consult with a CBT Professionals psychologist, please download our referral form here and take it with you to your GP appointment. We hope to be of assistance soon! Remember to reach out if you need further assistance.
Disclaimer: Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only and is not intended to replace advise from your doctor or registered health professional. Readers are urged to consult their registered practitioner for diagnosis and treatment for their medical concerns.