Boundaries are rules that we set for ourselves that align with our personal values. Boundaries can differ from over person to another and over time our own boundaries can change because our values change. Developing an understanding of our boundaries and how to set them now can help us adjusting them over time as needed and developing healthy relationships with ourselves and others. With all that said, it’s easy to see why boundaries have become one of the hottest topics in the therapy world!
Here’s a few examples of boundaries:
· You value friendship and community. While you enjoy time with your partner, you set a boundary in your relationship that you carve out time to spend with your friends, going to community events, and maybe even volunteering.
· You value time alone. It’s important for you to recharge without direct human contact, maybe it’s working out, meditating, watching a move, or doing art. Whatever it is, this time is precious for your overall wellbeing. You set a boundary with friends, loved ones, and work in which they are aware of how important this time is for you and not to invade on your alone time.
· You value family relationships. Being with your family is important, and so you prioritize quality time with the humans in your immediate tribe before you say yes to others, or make commitments that will take time away your partner and/or children. Boundaries can be hard, especially if you are stuck in a people pleasing cycle, often finding yourself putting others before yourself. Taking small steps now, can lead to you realigning with your values, and setting healthier boundaries. Here’s 3 ways to set boundaries now, but doing it in a loving way. 1) Get to know your personal values. Sit down either alone, with a loved one, or with a therapist to do a deep dive into what and who is important to you. Consider if you were living life to your most true self how, what would it look like and go from there. This will be the frame work to how you make choices. When someone asks you to hang out on Thursday at 9 pm, consider “how will this impact my values”. 2) Set a goal to not immediately say yes for at least one week. Instead respond with “can you give me some time to get back to you on that” and provide a respectable follow up time to reply with an answer. This gives you time to consider your answer, and ensure that saying yes is not going to cross any boundaries. 3) Schedule time weekly to directly engage and commit to a value, whether that is connecting with your community, being fully present with your family, or scheduling time alone. Hold yourself accountable by scheduling this time a few weeks in a row, and tell others to hold yourself accountable. These steps can help you on the road to realigning with your values, guarding your boundaries, and moving towards a life full of peace and purpose.