What are Boundaries?
Imagine you’re in an airplane sitting next to your child, spouse, friend, parent or stranger. All of a sudden, turbulence hits, and oxygen masks drop down. The pilot informs everyone to immediately put on their masks. You grab your neighbor’s mask and help them to put it on. Once you finally get to your own mask, you pass out before getting it on!
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping your neighbor.” That’s what boundaries are - putting your mask on first. Think of it this way:
The plane represents life itself.
Every plane seat is an individual path in life.
The people in the seats are the relationships we have with one another.
And finally, the oxygen masks are our own personal boundaries.
Neglecting your own boundaries to accommodate somebody else’s boundaries only lands you in harm’s way.
Boundaries are your limits as an individual. They’re invisible lines that separate your physical space, needs, responsibilities and feelings from other people.
The Importance of Boundaries
By setting boundaries, you not only separate parts of your life away from people, you also educate them on how they should interact with each of those parts in a way that protects your mental, emotional and physical health. Boundaries are important for the following reasons:
They allow you to be yourself.
Setting boundaries allows you to be yourself because you do not have to pretend to be “okay” with being ill-treated. You don’t need to please others at the expense of compromising your boundaries. If their peace costs you your peace, then it’s waaaay too expensive.
They set realistic expectations.
Don’t stretch yourself out by demanding boundaries from yourself that you know are beyond or below your character. Your boundaries should not contradict the person that you are. Not only are these expectations about how you treat yourself, they are also a blueprint that guides others on how to treat you.
Don’t forget to communicate those boundaries to all of your relationships, be it your spouse, children, co-workers, family and friends, so that they know how they are expected to behave.
They help maintain self-care.
Boundaries allow you to put yourself first. You come to moments in your life where you realize that you are not responsible for the emotions of others. You don’t have to show up to every request that people make. You are allowed to say “no”. And most importantly, it enables you to prioritize.
How to Set Up Your Boundaries
1. Reflect, reflect and reflect!
Spend time with yourself. Intentionally dedicate time alone that you will spend reflecting on your life experiences. By doing this, you’re able to create boundaries that properly reflect who you are, and you also understand why each boundary is important to you.
2. Be clear as early as possible.
When forming new bonds with someone, it’s best to make your boundaries known from the beginning. This lets the both of you know what you are getting yourselves into and how to maintain that bond. It allows you to make the choice to continue building the relationship or is it at risk for becoming a toxic relationship because they don’t respect your boundaries.
With pre-existing bonds (like family), it may seem a bit complicated to share your newly established boundaries because your family is used to a certain version of you. However, people change. It is a part of growth. As you notice these changes in you, share them with your family to help ease them into your new boundaries.
3. Be consistent.
Consistency eliminates confusion - both to yourself and to the people you have communicated your boundaries to. People know what to expect when interacting with you and they can self-adjust their own behaviors accordingly. Consistency also shows how committed you are to yourself.
4. Communicate your boundaries.
Have you ever been in a relationship where you did not communicate your boundaries and you kept being put in uncomfortable positions? Then, you notice that the other person went completely beyond that invisible boundary line. But because you never communicated those lines, it seems a bit overwhelming to confront that person. In the end you end up hurt… and it’s partly your fault.
By clearly stating your boundaries, you create the possibility of a relationship where your boundaries are respected…FROM THE BEGINNING. This can help you save time from potential heartbreak and destruction down the line.
Remember that in establishing your boundaries, the aim is to build and maintain relationships - not push people away. Those that choose to not respect your boundaries are likely prime suspects for toxic relationships. That means that they will cost you your peace, your happiness, your health, and so much more. They will slow down (or even stop) your ability to make an impact and walk in your purpose.
So, make sure you form boundaries that accommodate your individuality and allow your relationships to flourish so that you can be the best version of you possible.
To remind yourself that you’re worthy of the boundaries that you create, purchase your set of “Affirmations for Self-Worth” lifestyle affirmation cards by clicking here.
Or if you know you need deeper guidance, book a complimentary consultation call here.
Blessings & Abundance
Your Resident Mindset Coach,