The Importance of Setting Boundaries
We’ve discussed in other blogs how important it is to have time to yourself: to rest, restore, and have space to reconnect with yourself. Keeping all aspects of your life in balance, and ensuring that you don’t get overwhelmed by them, will help you face whatever Life brings – but you can only do this by getting really good at boundary setting.
Boundaries: keeping bad stuff out, keeping good stuff in
Think of a boundary as being like a wall around your own personal garden. This garden is a place where you have peace, time to connect with yourself and the people and pastimes that delight you. You wouldn’t want all manner of people trampling your grass, rattling the gate all day and night demanding to be let in for a lie down on your sun lounger, would you? Not setting healthy boundaries risks exactly that – people or circumstances invading your personal space, be it physical or mental.
Understand why you need boundaries
If you aren’t clear on why you need boundaries in certain areas your life, then it will be impossible for you to keep them when circumstances get tricky. Get clear on your reasons for setting them, and really take time to explore the positive benefits which setting that boundary will give you. For example, your parents might want you to go and visit them every weekend, but that’s the only time you get to catch up with friends. So what does being with your friends do for you? Help you relax after a hard week? Allow you to laugh and have fun? These are all ways of restoring your health and wellbeing. It’s not a luxury, it’s vital to your longterm mental health. Valuing what makes you happy will make it easier for you to put boundaries in place for yourself … and feel okay about limiting visits to your folks to just twice a month.
State your boundaries
Once you have decided on your boundaries, make sure you let people know about them. Declaring your boundaries to those whom it will affect can be a very proud moment, because not only are you informing them, you’re declaring it to yourself as a real, living thing, not just an idea in your head. Tell them what your plan is, when it will happen, and how frequently.
And that’s all.
Keep your boundaries
Just stating the facts and nothing else gives a clear verbal boundary to the recipient of your message. It’s very important to communicate it in this way, particularly if you are the kind of person who tends to justify their actions. By entering into as little debate as possible, it will be more difficult to be drawn into a discussion about why you’re doing it, why you want to do it, etc ... and therefore it’ll be more easier to stick to your plan.
Make sure you enforce your boundary religiously, especially for the first two weeks. Guard it fiercely. Boundaries are gifts that only you can give to yourself.
Make yourself a priority.