As human beings, we all have different values, needs, and beliefs that make us unique. These qualities shape who we are and guide us through life. However, in our interactions with others, we may encounter situations where these are challenged. Is this in alignment with my values? If you don’t know…but something seems off, you may need to figure out what your core values are as an individual. This is also where setting healthy boundaries becomes crucial.
Setting healthy boundaries is a way to protect our well-being and maintain our values, needs, and beliefs. It’s about creating a safe space for ourselves where we feel respected and valued. But, how do we go about setting healthy boundaries? How do we even know what our core values are as a person? Here are some tips that can help.
1. Identifying your values, needs, and beliefs is a crucial step toward setting healthy boundaries. When we are aware of what is important to us, we can make choices that are in line with our authentic selves. To identify these, do this exercise: If we could no longer be on Earth, and we were going to a totally different planet, and you could only take 10 things with you, what would they be? Your loved ones, pets, and necessities would be provided. Once you have written down your 10 things, drill down to them and say why. See if you can associate an emotion with those items afterward or a characteristic. I did this once because my coach asked me to, and it really shaped my life and allowed me to understand what my true values were and why. For example, peace was a big one. I was bringing the ocean with me because I love the sounds and the marvel of the ocean which makes me feel calm and rejuvenated. Also, I was bringing a construction worker because I knew I would need help with certain things…which showed me that I crave stability. It’s a fun exercise, try it! Then, once you have identified your values, needs, and beliefs, it’s important to use this information to set healthy boundaries that align with your authentic self. This can help create a safe space for yourself and make choices that are in line with your values, needs, and beliefs. I started to really look at my relationships, my career, etc., and dive into whether they were feeding into my clarity or my chaos. Were they in alignment or did I need to set some boundaries?
2. Communicate clearly. It’s important to express your feelings and needs in a way that is assertive and respectful. When communicating your boundaries, using “I” statements can be particularly effective. For example, instead of saying “You always make me feel uncomfortable when you do that,” you could say “I feel uncomfortable when you do that.” This allows you to take ownership of your feelings and avoid placing blame on the other person.
Keep in mind that setting boundaries is not about controlling or manipulating others. It is about taking charge of your own needs and creating a safe space for yourself. You are demonstrating respect for both yourself and the other person when you express your boundaries in a clear and firm way. This can lead to more genuine and fulfilling relationships.
3. Be firm but flexible. Setting healthy boundaries can be a difficult task, especially if the other person doesn’t respect them. It’s important to be firm in your boundaries, but it’s also important to be flexible and open to finding solutions that work for both parties involved. Sometimes, a person may not understand or agree with your boundaries, and it may require some negotiation and compromise to find a mutually beneficial solution. There is a difference between a healthy boundary and a barrier.
For example, if you’re setting a boundary with a family member who always shows up unannounced at your home, you could explain that you value your privacy and need advanced notice before they come over. If the family member insists on dropping by unannounced, you could suggest a compromise, such as setting specific days and times for visits or agreeing to a text before dropping by.
4. Prioritize self-care. As liberating and empowering as setting healthy boundaries can be, it can also be emotionally draining. Because of this, it’s essential to put self-care first while creating and upholding limits. Self-care is crucial to your overall health and can make you feel more stable and in control through trying times. Setting aside time for relaxing activities that allow you to recharge and relax is one method to prioritize self-care as long as you don’t overindulge. Indulgence could be a prohibitor to other areas of your life, so setting boundaries and balance is also equally as important. Exercise, meditation, and spending quality time with loved ones are examples of this. When faced with boundary problems, finding balance and resilience through joyful and calming activities might help.
Remember that setting healthy boundaries is an ongoing process. Although it could take some time and practice to feel at ease with it, it’s a crucial step in protecting your needs, values, and beliefs. You can promote more respectful and positive interactions with others and ultimately improve your well-being.
How did this help you today? Comment below and tell me your stories.