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7 Tips For Creating Better Emotional Boundaries

When emotional boundaries need resetting.

Do you feel uncomfortable with the way others treat you? Alternatively, do you feel exhausted or drained after being with certain people? It may be time to reset your emotional boundaries.

Setting clear personal boundaries is essential for maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself and with others.

What are emotional boundaries?

You can think of your boundary as an imaginary line creating a space between you and another person, a clear place where your thoughts and feelings end and another begins. Boundaries can work as the filter allowing in what you deem as acceptable and keeping out what is not.

Setting healthy boundaries allow you to express your individualism while acknowledging and respecting others.

Why are they so important?

As individuals, we have feelings and needs, which are unique to us. When we have weak or no boundaries in our relationships, we can become so immersed in other people’s lives, that we take on their emotions and ways of thinking, allowing them to control our mood and losing a sense of ourselves in the process.

  • Boundaries help you maintain a sense of identity and independence that is necessary for your emotional wellbeing. Separating your thoughts and feelings from those around you, they help you be true to your own feelings by not taking on or being affected by others emotions, words, thoughts or actions.
  • Personal boundaries allow you to honour your own needs and values, make decisions and take responsibility for your feelings, allowing others to be responsible for theirs.
  • When communicated clearly boundaries show others how you want to be treated. Being upfront with people leads to less resentment and anger down the track.
  • Boundaries help you become more aligned with your values and priorities, preventing you from overextending yourself and saying “no” when necessary.
  • They protect from the invasion of your emotional space, allowing you to determine what type of communication and behaviours are acceptable.

Why do we find it difficult to set boundaries?

Unfortunately, most of us aren’t taught how to create healthy boundaries for ourselves. Having grown up with the idea that we put others first, we feel guilty for not helping just about everyone, selfish when we want to put our own needs and wants first and find it difficult to say “no” fearing ultimate rejection or abandonment.

Tips for creating better boundaries

  • Be true to yourself. Understand you have a right to preventing others from invading your space, draining your energy or manipulating your thoughts. Give your self-permission to value and honour yourself and invest in your own self-care.
  • Get clear on what your values, needs, and wants are? What makes you feel comfortable and what doesn’t. When you get clear about your priorities and what is acceptable and what is not, you will see where you may need to strengthen your boundaries.
  • Once you identify a boundary that needs setting or strengthening, do it calmly and firmly, using as few words as possible. Don’t justify or apologise for setting the limit.
  • Communicate your boundaries in a respectful manner. There might be people who will test it, so plan for it and stay firm and respectful.
  • If time is your issue, set your priorities and keep your calendar up-to-date. When someone asks you to take on something extra, see if you can fit it in, if not arrange another time or kindly decline.
  • Practice saying “no”.  This may take time, but there are ways to refuse without offending others.
  • Setting boundaries might feel awkward at first but be persistent, continue to practice.

Boundaries protect our emotional space, define who we are and take responsibility for the way we want others to treat us.  While setting healthy boundaries may take time and persistence, they are well worth the investment to our sense of self.

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