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Healthy Boundaries

Updated: Feb 27

Setting boundaries involves identifying our needs, values and limits and communicating them clearly and assertively to others. Boundaries can be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual in nature, and they help define a person's sense of self and autonomy. They can also be internal or external. However, all boundaries are crucial for maintaining healthy relationships and self-respect with others and with ourselves.

A lot of us struggle to set boundaries. Our family, culture, religion, ethnicity, gender, generation, and age might influence our perspectives of what behaviors and communication styles are acceptable and not acceptable. These factors also influences our expectations of the world and how we show up in the world. It is normal to struggle identifying, setting and holding boundaries if you never had a good example of this growing up.

Healthy boundaries help us establish and maintain a sense of self-respect, self-esteem, and self-worth. Boundaries also enable us to communicate our needs and preferences clearly to others. If we don't clearly communicate our boundaries, others will not know what we want and need from our relationship. Without boundaries, we may feel overwhelmed, resentful, or taken advantage of, leading to stress and conflict.

One way to set boundaries is by being clear about what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable to us. This may involve saying no to requests or demands that violate our boundaries or make us uncomfortable. Another way is to enforce consequences when our boundaries are crossed, such as by ending a conversation or leaving a situation. Additionally, practicing self-care and prioritizing our own well-being can help us maintain and enforce healthy boundaries.

Healthy boundaries can lead to a more peaceful and connected life by creating a sense of safety and predictability in relationships. When we are clear about our boundaries and others respect them, we feel more secure and less anxious. This sense of security allows us to be more open and authentic in our interactions, leading to deeper and more meaningful connections with others. Respecting and enforcing healthy boundaries create a safe environment in which we can thrive.

It's important to note that boundaries don't have to be porous, where they allow too much of others' behavior to affect us, nor do they have to be rigid, where they restrict us from forming meaningful connections. Instead, healthy boundaries are flexible and adaptive, allowing us to adjust them based on our needs and the dynamics of our relationships. By knowing and trusting ourselves when to lean towards porous or rigid, we can maintain healthy boundaries that enhance our well-being and promote fulfilling relationships. I highly recommend two books: Setting Boundaries That Stick by Juliane Taylor Shore and Set Boundaries, Find Peace by Nedra Glover Tawwab. These books do a great job of explaining what boundaries are, why are they essential, and most importantly, how we can set and hold boundaries in a healthy way.

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