Setting boundaries can feel like a struggle but keeping them in place is a game changer in your happiness and well-being.
If you choose to set boundaries and then fail to keep them in place then those around you may not take your boundaries seriously the next time. For others to take them seriously you must too.
Boundaries are your own "rules" determining how you want to be treated by others and how you will react to ensure that it happens.
For example: "I deserve to live in a home that is free from physical violence and will communicate calmly and patiently with my family keeping my hands to myself. I will physically remove myself from threats, yelling, or violence promptly.
Think of a healthy boundary like a fence around yourself. There is a gate in the fence and you get to decide who comes in and out of your personal space and life or not.
People who are hurtful physically or emotionally need to stay outside the "fenced" area by giving them limited access to you. This teaches them that you won't tolerate their behavior and keeps you safe.
Only those who are safe, contributing, and pleasant to be around are welcome within your "inner space" mentally, physically, and emotionally. This allows you to comfortably be your authentic self, build trust, and remain safe.
With day-to-day life, it may seem difficult to keep these boundaries in place or even know how to set them effectively. There can also be alot of fear around hurting others feelings or how they will respond.
As long as you set a boundary in a respectful, firm way; how the other person responds is often the beginning of their self-awareness journey and the need to take responsibility for themselves. You are actually doing them a service!
Here are the most effective ways to set and keep HEALTHY boundaries:
1) Act Assertively
You may not always realize when one of your boundaries is being broken, but that is bound to happen. No one can remember everything at all times, and that is okay. However, when you do realize one of your boundaries is being broken make sure to address it assertively.
By saying something simple and direct you can put your boundaries back in place.
If you are at a bar and someone is hitting on you then you can simply say, "I am not interested." This is a direct and simple line that does not make you seem like a bad person, just assertive.
If they continue to do something after you have been assertive and direct then it is best to tell them to leave you alone or you will be leaving. If they persist leave the situation. If it is a friend that is doing something even after you asserted your boundary then it is best to not talk to them for a little while. Maybe later you can both come back with clear minds and discuss it.
2) Know Your Boundaries
Setting boundaries is good, but if you set too many all at once you may not always remember what they are. If you fail to remember them fully then there is no way to keep them in place.
This could confuse those around you if you fail to keep in place the boundaries that you discussed with them and sends mixed messages. They are less likely to take you seriously when you try to set boundaries in the future.
Writing down your boundaries is a great way to keep track.
It could be on a little notepad you keep in your car, or in your notes app on your phone. Either way, having them written somewhere will help you keep everything clear in your mind.
3) Support System
Whether you are trying to set boundaries while dating, with a partner, with friends, or with family, having someone on your side who knows your boundaries is a good thing.
Having a professional such as a life coach or counselor can help you figure out what boundaries are needed and how to set and keep them.
Doing this journey alone can be scary but having someone who you trust on your side can make things much better. They will be able to help you remember boundaries as well as stick to them if you start to stray.
4) Cut People Out
Setting boundaries come into play when there are things people do that you do not want in your life and involve the "rules" you set for yourself in regard to how you deserve to be treated and how you will respond if mistreated.
Letting others run over us sometimes happens. However, if you reassert your boundary and they continue to 'mess up' then it may be time to just move on.
Keep the interaction with them very limited, safe, and in superficial manner. This teaches them if they want your time and attention, they need to treat you better.
Leaving behind friends or family that you've always known seems really hard, and it most likely will be. However, once you are free from things that you didn't want in your life then you are able to truly feel free to be your authentic self. It will be so much better for you in the long run if you let these people go instead of trying to fix them or the damage to yourself that quietly taking disrespect causes.