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How do we ensure healthy boundaries in a humble and practical way? This is not an easy task, and often threatening. You need to tell people they can be selfish, aggressive or rude. But it's important: Boundaries allow us to feel physically and emotionally secure and dignified. Respecting our limits helps us to take better care of ourselves, builds trust, avoids rooting, and adds more meaning and authenticity to our relationship.
And there is a way to do that that protects our best interests and helps loved ones understand us better.
Although most of us have not been taught this important life skill in school, it will never be too late to begin to explore how we can benefit from better limits. Here are some ways to get started:
1: Tune in
Our bodies always give us signals when we are close to personal limits. Notice if you feel the jaw tighten or your fist clenched. You may start a fight, or you may break out in a sweat. Maybe you feel it in your throat or stomach? Whatever the signal, respect what your body tells you and take some time to discover your problem and understand the limits that arise.
2: Understand your preferences
Your time is a limited and valuable resource. If you try to please everyone, you not only buy one-way tickets for haste and resentment, but you also deny yourself the good and the progress you value. The next time you say yes to someone, make sure you are not saying yes to yourself. Take some time to write down a list of priorities and compare where you spend your time and energy to figure out where you need to make adjustments.
3: Communicate with explanation
When you don't want to do something, practice saying no. You don't have to explain yourself or make excuses. The following sentences are complete answers: "No, thank you." "Thanks, but I can't."
If someone you care about has violated your limits, you want to give them more information.
“When you told our friends about what’s been going on with my family, I felt hurt and embarrassed. Please don’t share things about me without my consent. My privacy is important to me.“
4: Get rid of anxiety
If you are not accustomed to pushing your limits, addressing a personal limit can make you feel strange, frightened, guilty and nervous. Give yourself space and time to develop your tolerance. You may also find it helpful to do breathing exercises, meditate, or talk to a trusted friend or therapist.
5: Take your place
If you ever go overboard, and you're not sure what to do, find yourself taking some time to reflect and refrain from it. Allow to return to the conversation. Try saying something like, "I need some time to think about what happened. I want to get back to this conversation in a few hours / days."
6: Boundaries can be flexible
Our boundaries will change for different people, and they may change over time depending on the circumstances of your life and the evolution of the relationship. It is important to check yourself to make sure you like the relevant rules. If your boundaries are too tight or too loose, it may indicate that something is moving below the surface for you. If so, you may want to consider getting some extra help.
7: Be ready
Don't be surprised if some people react badly to your feedback. When you set boundaries, people who control themselves, tease, abuse, or have unhealthy boundaries can be motivated. You can express your limitations with empathy, but it is not up to you to fix them.
8: Create results
If you are constantly being insulted by someone, create a clear explanation around what you want to do. Will you take a break from the relationship? Will you stop working with them? Choose something you are willing to do and be willing and determined to do it. If this sounds difficult to you, don't leave it alone: seek help from a trusted friend, family member, or physician.
9: Respect other people's boundaries
People often give us physical and verbal cues about their limits. Consider whether they take a step back, avoid eye contact, or do not feel discomfort. Of course, each has its own uniqueness, and their gestures will mean and communicate different things. Lastly, if you are not sure what your limitations are, you can always ask. "Can I give you some feedback?" Or "Can I ask you a personal question?"