Prioritising our well-being is essential in the fast-paced world of today which could be demanding from time to time. Setting boundaries is a crucial proactive measure for our well-being and successfully managing our relationships. We can create a sense of comfort and avoid feeling overwhelmed by learning when to say yes and no.
Why do we need boundaries?
Expectations and needs that create boundaries help relationships feel safe and secure. They enable us to protect our mental and emotional health. Without boundaries, we might feel negative emotions like resentment, frustration, and irritation, which can be harmful to our relationships as well as hinder our personal growth. Healthy boundaries show acceptable behaviours, offer clarity, and foster healthy relationships. They also outline our expectations for others in terms of their roles and behaviours. In the end, having boundaries helps us to interact with others in a way that makes us feel safe, appreciated, and respected.
Do I need Boundaries?
It is important to recognise the warning signs that indicate the need for boundaries and boundary setting. if you frequently feel overwhelmed, get angry when asked for help, or avoid situations where requests might be made, it might indicate the need for boundaries. Other signs include having no time for yourself, feeling burned out, daydreaming about running away and so on. Knowing these warning signs gives us the power to act and set the boundaries required.
Avoiding boundaries by ignoring situations or cutting off people may seem like a quick fix, but in the long run, it might also worsen the underlying problems. Avoidance is a passive-aggressive reaction caused by fear, and it might keep us from taking proactive action. Through avoidance, relationships suffer, resentment grows, and conflicts develop. We lose out on chances for development and improvement by avoiding discussions about our expectations and boundaries. To promote healthier relationships, it is critical to tackle these problems head-on, communicate assertively, and establish clear boundaries.
Setting boundaries requires both communication and action:
Verbal communication is necessary because people cannot accurately understand our boundaries from our body language or other nonverbal cues. Effective boundary-setting is facilitated by assertive statements. To verbally communicate your boundaries, you might say something like, “I value it when our agreed-upon plans are respected. Please text me a few hours in advance if it becomes necessary to change our plans.”
Since communication alone is insufficient, we must take further steps by following through with our actions. By acting in a way that reinforces our boundaries, we convey to others how important our boundaries are. Thinking of the same situation above, if someone does not acknowledge the boundary we set verbally regarding plans, we must uphold it by explaining to them that we cannot accommodate the change because of the short notice.
A proactive strategy for preserving healthy relationships and one’s own well-being is learning to set boundaries and say no. By establishing boundaries, we can foster an atmosphere of safety and respect in which our needs are recognised and met. By identifying the warning signs that suggest the need for boundaries, comprehending the effects of avoidance of boundary setting, and establishing healthy boundaries, we can promote our well-being. Setting boundaries can be uncomfortable at first, but the discomfort is a small price to pay for the long-term benefits.
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Seray Soyman is working as a Trainee Psychosexologist within the Willingness team, providing psychosexual education and sexual support sessions, as well as delivering training and workshops. She has a master’s degree in Clinical Psychosexology from the Sapienza University of Rome. Seray’s research interests are sexual communication, sex-positive behaviour, LGBTQIA+ studies, and sexual health.
Tawwab, N. G. (2021). Set boundaries, find peace: A guide to reclaiming yourself. Penguin.