On countless occasions, I have come across this misconception that personal boundaries are put in place to keep people out of our lives. That is not quite right though. I often hear women telling me that they struggle with setting and maintaining healthy personal boundaries because they feel like the bad guy for doing so. This discomfort and worry can create negative feelings, including guilt, and are being born out of this misconception about boundaries. Let’s clear up the air on what personal boundaries are, why we all need them, and how to tell your boundaries could benefit from adjusting.
We all have personal boundaries within every relationship that we have. They are the verbal and nonverbal messages we send others about how we want and need to be treated. They are not designed to keep people away, but the exact opposite. Boundaries are how we keep relationships going long-term. Healthy boundaries within a relationship can keep a relationship of any kind going through thick and thin.
Signs of having healthy boundaries can look like:
- Feeling safe and secure
- Being able to be open and trust another
- Feeling able to say “no” when needed and disagree with another
- Being respected and treated in the way you desire
- Able to have tough conversations and state your needs
Boundaries can be challenging for some of us to set and maintain. For many different reasons, we might find ourselves struggling with how to navigate or improve one or more relationships in our lives. Reflect for a moment on the relationships that you struggle to navigate and/or maintain the most. Think about the relationships you feel are challenging or stressful in ways that you wish they were not. Does something in that relationship need to change in order to keep that relationship going?
Signs of having unhealthy boundaries can look like:
- Difficulty saying “no” when needed
- Fear that the relationship will change and/or end if you are fully open with them
- Avoiding close relationships/intimacy
- Feeling manipulated by another
- Putting other’s needs and/or wants before your own
- Fear of rejection from another
- Oversharing of personal/intimate information
- Feeling you have to constantly explain yourself and/or have a “reason” for how you feel
- Worry another person will reject you based on your opinions/views/beliefs/interests
- Being talked down to and/or feeling another is dismissive of your feelings
- Physical, verbal, emotional, financial, or mental neglect or abuse of any kind
If any one of your relationships has the characteristics above, and these relationship traits are causing you stress, worry, or sadness, you may have unhealthy boundaries in one or more of your relationships. And if that is the case, it is likely that your boundaries need adjusting to better support you and your relationship with another. Healthy relationships have healthy boundaries.
Are you wondering how to adjust and establish healthy boundaries that work better for you? Reach out today for a free consultation and let’s talk about how we can work together to make that happen for you.