Just last night, I asked a friend if he had any boundaries in place in his life.
To my surprise, he was confused.
Trying to make sense of the question that I could so easily answer, I realized that many people, maybe even most, do not have a set of healthy boundaries. Especially today.
I have many girlfriends that will tell me their relationship problems over coffee, and I can’t help but think, If she had a stable set of boundaries, she would never be in this terrible situation.
You might be asking, What exactly is a boundary?
A boundary is any unhealthy behavior, word, action, or situation that a person does not allow themselves to put up with. These boundaries are not consistent with every person. For instance, one of my fiends might consider a partner cheating when he/she is actually in the act of sex, while another friend might consider talking to another person more than his/her own partner cheating. Even though both people don’t agree with cheating, both are right. Both of my friends have a stable, unique set of boundaries, tailored to their individual personalities.
Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. – Brene Brown
Boundaries are in place in order to protect us from toxic, abusive, and negative people, behaviors, and situations.
If you’re reading this, I want you to know just how difficult it is to actually set boundaries, and stick to them. I will say that I began implementing healthy boundaries within the past four months. Before that, I really didn’t have any. Both of my parents never truly taught me what boundaries were, so when I found myself in a pattern toxic situations with abusive people, I knew something had to change inside of myself.
Some quick & helpful tips that worked for me:
1. Get out an old-fashioned paper and pen, and write out what you believe your boundaries are. Try not to think about what you were conditioned to accept/not accept from your parents. What truly is important to you? What behaviors or activities don’t make you feel comfortable? What qualities does someone need to have to be in your inner circle?
2. Cut out everything and everyone that violates those boundaries. As I said above, everyone is different. Just because your best friend may have completely different boundaries than you, doesn’t mean that your boundaries are “wrong”. Your boundaries are totally up to you. I had trouble with this step, especially with cutting people out who would consistently cross the boundaries I laid down. But, once I became strong enough to put my foot forward in various social, personal, and professional relationships, I have received an immense amount of beauty. I have never loved my life the way that I do now. I don’t tolerate any people who cause me to feel confused, crazy, manipulated, or neglected.
Absolutely everyone and everything in my life has never been as aligned as it is now. Instead of trying so hard to avoid toxic people, they now avoid me.