Good morning everyone! It’s Raia aka Coach Carey here! I am so excited to be taking over Jillian’s blog again today! If you missed my very first post on how to be a better ally you can check that out, here. Today, I am so excited to share with you how to create and maintain healthy boundaries in your daily life!
The word boundary is too often associated with unpleasant terms like barrier, separation and closed-off. With that in mind, it can certainly be difficult to draw lines between yourself and those that typically surround you. Creating boundaries is a completely necessary, and healthy, way to live a fulfilling life while preserving your relationships with others and yourself.
Boundaries help us respect ourselves, as well as teach others how to respect us. Tackling this topic can definitely feel overwhelming at first, but the entire purpose of creating boundaries is to understand what your personal limits are and act within them. Not sure where or how to start? Here are some of my top tips for addressing your emotions, creating better boundaries and maintaining them in your everyday life:
Tune into your daily interactions.
Think about who you tend to spend the most time with and how you feel when you’re around them. Is it joyful? Is it comparable to a chore? Ask yourself how each interaction affects your mood, your time and your energy so you can recognize where and when you feel good. This is a great starting point for determining what areas you may need to implement new boundaries in.
Think of self-awareness as a tool.
When mapping out boundaries, try not to put the full onus on those around you. Consider what has changed over time and how. Ask yourself what you’ve done differently lately, and then thoughtfully go over your options. These are two questions you can use as journal prompts to reflect: Which situations are causing more harm than good? What can you I do to improve those situations? What boundaries need to be set in place so I don’t become more stressed or resentful?
Move past the pressure and give yourself permission to change your mind.
Whether it’s a lunch plan with coworkers or a movie night with your roommate, it’s okay if you’ve changed your mind about something. The most important way to communicate the change is by simply being honest. While there is a certain responsibility that comes along with commitments and obligations, don’t be too hard on yourself for needing to take a step back.
Longevity can’t outweigh negativity.
One of the most common fears that people have about creating new boundaries in their lives is receiving a negative response. When someone responds in a not-so-pleasant way, it can become extremely challenging to continue maintaining your original boundaries. Keep in mind that how people react to your need for boundaries is very telling. The key is recognizing that the people who respond negatively to our boundaries may not be the people who are meant to be close to us. A boundary between you and that person may help tremendously.
Take small steps when implementing.
If you want to spend time with someone but you recognize that a boundary may need to be put in place to do so, suggest an activity that provides flexibility. For example, making a plan to meet for a coffee could be a short hangout within your boundaries. If you decide you’re okay with extending the plan in the moment, the coffee could turn into grabbing dinner after. This is especially helpful when creating boundaries with family members. Social situations where the conversation is created for you, such as a driving range or art gallery, helps remove some of the added pressure that comes along with drawing lines between those you’re related to.
Practice self-care regularly.
Healthy relationships and friendships are a two-way street. In order to fully be present for the people you choose to spend time with, you need to designate time to put yourself first. When you’re in a good place, it becomes a lot easier to become a better friend and maintain healthy boundaries.
Similar to other new skills, creating and sticking to boundaries takes practice. Be patient with yourself and don’t be afraid to seek support when you need it. Creating boundaries doesn’t mean you need to cold-cut someone out of your life. It does mean that you are now in control of how people show up in your life. Lastly, lets always try to lead from a place of love so we can collectively create safe spaces to have these open conversations with the people we care about, especially when boundaries are being put in place.
Until next time!