Many of us have heard of boundaries, but have no idea what they are, or we don’t put them to use. Think about what a boundary is to you. For me, I think of a fence along a property line. Setting boundaries for ourselves is the same idea. We create a roadblock that we guard day and night that nobody can get through…unless we let them. Holding firm to our boundaries is what helps us stay on our side of the street. Boundaries teach people how to treat us and show that we take care of ourselves.
I want to do a little exercise today, and I hope you’ll find it as useful for setting boundaries as I did.
First, think of a boundary you’d like to set with someone. It can even be yourself! Those boundaries are often the hardest to keep.
The first part involves the feelings you get from a particular behavior or action. How does it make you feel? The second part involves what exactly that behavior or action is. The last part is where you set your boundary. What will you do if the behavior happens again? Let’s go ahead and put it all together.
A friend of mine was very passive-aggressive during a disagreement between us. What boundary could I set for that?
I feel very defensive and upset when you communicate with me in a passive-aggressive way. If it continues, I will no longer engage in the conversation with you and I will walk away.
Coming up with a boundary is the easy part. Actually setting one is a different story. Many of us are afraid of the other person’s reaction, so this process can be hard. We think we don’t deserve to take care of ourselves, but that isn’t true. We are all deserving of self-care and self-love. Try to set a boundary today and stick to it – even if it’s with yourself!