All You Need to Know About Setting and Keeping Boundaries
The word “boundaries” means a lot of different things to different people. For some, it’s a harsh word that means cutting people out or knowing that they are the reason someone might need boundaries. For some, it’s a pie in the sky dream because they know they need boundaries but they have no idea how to implement them.
If you don’t have boundaries set up, that’s okay! We’re going to go through those right now and you now have this guide to refer to anytime you need a little extra help.
When you are setting boundaries, you need to make sure that you are setting boundaries that align with your priorities. These should not be random, or boundaries that you think are probably boundaries that everyone should have. These need to be specific to you and your situation. Boundaries will look different in every person’s life.
Some boundaries that I personally have if you’re not sure what these even look like:
- My husband and I purposefully schedule time for ourselves so that we don’t neglect to spend time together.
- I allow myself to say no to things that would crowd my schedule.
- My husband and I don’t talk to our families about certain personal things because some things should stay between us.
This is what I will say though, setting a boundary is not the hard part. Keeping the boundary is so hard! It can be a constant battle especially when you’re changing something you’ve done for a long time.
But I know you can do it! This is what I suggest:
- Make sure you and your partner or family agree with it and support you in keeping it.
- When making new boundaries, start with one or two. That way you won’t forget some or feel overwhelmed.
- Be clear in communicating the boundary. If you know you’re going to have a hard time explaining it to the people involved, write it out and practice at home so that you feel confident that you understand it fully and totally agrees with it.
After you’ve set the boundary and communicated it, you need to make an intention of checking in with that boundary. So maybe it’s putting a date on your calendar to come back to it and discuss or contemplate if it’s working out and what adjustments you might need to make. If it’s something that affects others and they’re having a hard time with it, make sure you continue to talk to them about it and make sure they still understand why you set it in place. Don’t let them change it from what you need the boundary to be, however, keeping an open conversation about it can help them feel seen even when you aren’t going to change it for them.
For instance, if your parents are consistently in your business and ask questions they shouldn’t, you might want to set a boundary of not answering those questions to protect your privacy. You can communicate this to them and they might understand and do their best to respect your decision.
If they don’t understand, it might be difficult for them to adjust. If they ask you a question you don’t feel comfortable answering even after you’ve set the boundary, politely change the subject or say something along the lines of, “I don’t feel comfortable answering that. Can we change the subject?” or, “Is there something else we could talk about right now? I’d love to keep that private.”
In this example, your parents might be offended. They might not understand. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. You need to do what’s best for you. If it’s causing issues in your relationship, don’t ignore that. Talk it out and help them to understand.
“I know this is hard for you, but it’s important to me to keep these things about my life private. I would love to talk to you about XYZ but I’ve set this boundary to protect ZYX so please respect that.”
Boundaries can change your life and help you overcome overwhelm and uncomfortable feelings around the holidays or interactions with certain people at any time of the year. If you implement these strategies your confidence will change and you might feel like a whole new person!
These questions will be listed here, and you are more than welcome to answer them and submit them to me. But please don’t feel like you have to! These are here to get you thinking a little more and do some journaling. You can either write your answer down in your journal or even just speak them out loud to voice text or a voice memo if writing just doesn’t seem right. Do what works for you, but make sure you take time to think about these things.
These questions will be listed here, and you are more than welcome to answer them in the comments. Don’t feel like you have to! These are here to get you thinking a little more and do some journaling. You can either write your answer down in your journal or even just speak them out loud to voice text or a voice memo if writing just doesn’t seem right. Do what works for you, but make sure you take time to think about these things.
- Have you ever consciously set boundaries before? If so, have they been successful or do you feel uneasy about them still?
- When you think about boundaries, what is your first reaction/thought? Journal about that and how you would like to see that changed if at all.