What are boundaries?
Personal boundaries are the limits and rules we set for ourselves within relationships. A person with healthy boundaries can say “no” to others when they want to, but they are also comfortable opening themselves up to intimacy and close relationships. Boundaries look at the difference between two people’s responsibilities for their own problems. Boundaries are crossed when people place the responsibility of their thoughts, feelings and actions on to others.
Are my boundaries being crossed?
Boundaries can be crossed in any relationship - with family, friends, colleagues and partners.
Do you feel …
Taken advantage of?
Like your space is being invaded?
That you don't have an option to say No?
You are blamed for things you are not responsible for?
Disrespected, hurt or guilted?
You cant ask for what you need?
These are signs that someone is crossing your boundary limits. You have a right to place limits and assert your needs in the situation. Setting healthy limits is essential for self-care and self-respect.
How to build healthy boundaries
1. Understand your limits. In order to set limits for others, you need to be acknowledge and validate what your boundaries are. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, that can be a sign that your boundaries are being crossed.
2. Follow your feelings. The only way to understand your limits, is to listen to the messages your emotions are sending you. If you feel discomfort or resentment, these are signs that someone is making you feel used or undervalued.
3. Be direct. When you feel your boundary is being crossed be direct and assertive to the other person. Communicating your limit in a clear but respectful way is a great guide for the other person to understand you.
4. Give yourself permission. You are allowed to say NO. You deserve to have boundaries. No matter the person nor the context.
5. Make yourself a priority. Do you want other people to respect you? The only way to do this is to respect yourself. Creating healthy boundaries is the first step to self-respect.
6. Practice. Any new behaviour can be difficult in the beginning. The more you practice the easier the behaviour will become. At the beginning setting limits may feel unnatural or make you feel guilty. You may also receive negative feedback from others close to you. Push through - it is worth it. Start with something small and build up as you feel more confident.
If you are struggling to create boundaries in your life talk to a professional who can help you.
Boundaries are incredibly important for success, growth and wellness.
Often, we are so comfortable with a certain behaviour that it is difficult to change it even though we know we should. By talking to a psychologist, you can create a plan to tackle these difficulties and empower yourself to take charge of your life.
Take a look at our website to meet our team, find out about therapy or even join our online self development programme.
The time is now - you deserve it.
Written by Chevonne Powell - Clinical Psychologist.
011 615 1030