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How to Improve Your Relationships by Recalibrating Your Boundaries

A seven-step guide. Because you deserve to be happy

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Are there days when you feel as if you are here in this world to only satisfy others’ needs while shoving yours aside? Do you suffer physically, mentally, and emotionally because of this?

I know I have. And it has held me back from doing the things I knew I was capable of doing.

I have learned that this is a sign that I needed to build or strengthen my boundaries to protect my feelings, my happiness, and overall mental state. It was also an indication that I needed something to alert me when the limits I had set were being violated.

This something — a gauge — involved certain emotions. When we feel uncomfortable, distressed, resentful — that’s when we need to reassess the situation before we react.

One way to do this is to rate these feelings on a scale of 1 to 5. Based on their severity, look at what’s triggering them and how they can be overcome.

So, the next time someone tries to be pushy with you, treat you badly or pressure you into doing something you don’t want to, it is time to enforce your boundaries. Recognize that emotional red flag and take action.

Just as physical boundaries keep some things in and others out, so do emotional ones. Emotional or interpersonal boundaries are the necessary space between people that allows a sense of individuality and separateness. This sense of uniqueness is essential for the development of a healthy person and ultimately the development of a professional identity. — Source

But How to Create or Reinforce Your Boundaries?

If you want to be the best “you” — to be happy — to be healthy — you must set boundaries. This means being clear about your limits. This is necessary to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed by the demands and expectations of other people.

When you don’t set boundaries, you become overburdened, stressed, and resentful — so it is entirely up to you to create and maintain your limits. You are the only one responsible for your happiness and well-being and nobody else is going to do it for you.

We all find it tough in varying degrees to say “No”. What we don’t realize is how it affects us. So, now is the time to re-calibrate those boundaries.

Here is what I’ve learned about recalibrating my boundaries. Practicing these seven steps has improved my relationships tremendously.

1. Know and Assess Your Limits

Self-awareness is the key to creating and maintaining our limits. This involves knowing our emotional, mental, and physical limits.

Boundaries are a reflection of our relationship with ourselves. Weak boundaries tell the world that we don’t care about letting go of our time and happiness. Strong boundaries signal our self-respect and values.

As a first step, here are some things to think about.

  • What makes you feel uncomfortable?
  • What stresses you?
  • What feels good?
  • What is acceptable to you?
  • What are your limits?
  • What makes you feel depleted?

Next, spend some time working on these values.

2. Know How to Interpret Your Feelings

In the process of evaluating your limits, you are likely to feel a range of emotions. Focus on two of these: resentment and discomfort. When you feel that someone is taking advantage of you, or is not appreciating you, or even exploiting you — it is a warning sign that they are violating your boundaries. It is time to reassert your boundaries and say NO.

3. Give Yourself Permission to Enforce Your Boundaries

Give yourself permission to say NO. You must do it for your self-respect to maintain your boundaries and refuse unwelcome requests. No need to feel guilty or have self-doubts over this. When you have clear boundaries and stick to them, you are NOT being selfish. When you put yourself first, you ensure that you have the energy to do things you want to do and to be there for people when you want to be. It’s a form of self-care.

4. Know Your Non-negotiables

What do you need to be healthy and happy? It can be your exercise routine — a daily walk, gym session, yoga practice . . . or other things you do. Make it clear that these are non-negotiable elements in your daily schedule.

Here are some examples.

  • If you are being talked into hosting a family party and it cuts into your non-negotiables, let them know that you can’t — but maybe you can contribute with food and beverages.
  • If an office colleague asks for help, feel free to say no if you can’t.
  • Don’t want to go to that musical with a friend because you don’t like them? Fine. Say so.
  • Can’t work late today? Say so.

It is perfectly okay to be clear and direct about your boundaries. And feelings. This way, there’s no scope for guilt, doubt, or leverage.

5. Be Direct

Perhaps the most important step while setting and reinforcing boundaries is being clear. When you are clear, there is no need to fall back on excuses or cook up stories. Just state what you have to say and leave it at that. Be polite and kind about it. Point is, say no and maintain your boundaries.

6. Be Consistent

This step is important. Once you set boundaries, you must maintain them consistently. Don’t say one thing and do another. People will test your boundaries — after all, it is human nature. So, follow through on what you say.

7. Write Your Script

To make it easier on yourself, especially if you find it hard to come up with the right response when someone is pushing your boundaries, here’s a tip. Write your script. Make a bunch of ready-made answers that you can use when a simple No won’t do.

  • No, I can’t on that day
  • I’m already committed
  • I’m not available
  • I’m afraid I’m not interested

Be polite but firm. No need to explain yourself. This way you’ll build the confidence to enforce your boundaries.

To Sum Up

Recalibrate your boundaries by doing the following:

  1. Know and assess your limits.

2. Know how to interpret your feelings.

3. Give yourself permission to enforce your boundaries.

4. Know your non-negotiables.

5. Be direct.

6. Be consistent.

7. Write your script.

You have the right to have healthy boundaries, so don’t feel guilty. Guilt is simply a consequence of the social conditioning to be “unselfish”. If someone does try to make you feel guilty, just recognize that behavior for what it is. It is called bullying. Building healthy boundaries and maintaining them reduces your stress levels and improves your relationships. Consequently, you’ll find yourself happier and stress-free.

Because you deserve it.

Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles ❤ Did you smile today?

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Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles

Writing about Self Improvement, Mindfulness, Meditation, Parenting, Health, Travel, Life, Books. Showing my diabetes who’s boss. Visit: https://vidyasury.com