Boundaries and how to set them

Do you ever feel trapped within other people’s problems because they constantly lean on you for either advice or help? Do your friends and even family know you will always lend an ear to whatever they are going through, even when it is self-inflicted? How many times has what whoever comes to you with their latest problem or problems did it make you feel an incredible amount of emotional pain that was almost suffocating?

The truth is I have never been able to turn my back on anything that was in distress and needed someone to talk to. It is not in my nature to tell someone I can or do not have time to listen and attempt to help them. Is it even possible to avoid becoming emotionally involved when an individual you care about is struggling? Even though we do always want to be compassionate, empathetic, supportive, solicitous, and caring, there can come a time when we need to consider our own well-being over another’s.

I am sure that everyone has heard about the importance of developing personal boundaries and has probably implemented them by now. Even though I am very aware of the fact I need to set boundaries, but I have yet to execute any what-so-ever. I guess the reason I decided to write about boundaries is that I need and want to learn how to set boundaries before losing too much too myself and feeling resentful way too frequently.

We all have our limits to what we are willing and able to cope with, after all, we are only human and unfortunately do not have magical powers. How many times throughout your life have your friends, co-workers, or family pushed far beyond the limits you are willing to deal with? I can say without hesitation that I don’t think I can count the number of times using both my fingers and toes. Once you have been unsuccessful in separating yourself from what others are going through as much as I have, you are going to want to find change. Often the changes we desire to make are not easy and can be outright frustrating, but with enough perseverance anything is possible!

I have heard many people talk about how crucial it is to have boundaries in all of our relationships. With that said, how would you define boundaries? It is my understanding that boundaries are the limits we put in place with other people. These boundaries specify what we find to be both acceptable and unacceptable in the way others behave towards us.

Our capability of knowing our boundaries typically comes from our sense of self-worth or evaluating one’s self in ways that are NOT dependent on anyone else or the feelings others may have towards another. Self-worth is about discovering the natural value of who we are, which helps our awareness of the following:

1. Intellectual Worth which means just like you are entitled to your thoughts and opinions, everyone else is as well.

2. Emotional Worth means you are entitled to your feelings towards any situation, everyone else should be given the same respect.

3. Physical Worth refers to no matter how broad the space is you are entitled to your personal space as do others.

4. Social Worth means just as you are entitled to your friends and the ability to pursue your social activities, so do others.

5. Spiritual Worth means just as you are entitled to your spiritual beliefs, so is everyone else.

To set boundaries it is important to fully understand that four different types which can be defined as the following:

Physical Boundaries are the easiest to define because they are external and seen.

These boundaries can be described as your office, your desk, your computer that is password-protected, and your money in your bank account, your car that is locked, and your body.

Over the years as I got older the one boundary I never had an issue with is my physical boundary. I do not like for people to come too close to me or put their hands on me. Concerning my personal boundaries, before social distancing, I do not want anyone invading the space between me and the length of my arms.

Mental Boundaries are regarding to our personal thoughts.

It is impossible for two people to always agree on everything all of the time. Each individual is entitled to their thoughts, opinions, values, and beliefs. We all want our mental boundaries respected, so we must reciprocate the same respect to others.

I can say that when I am having a conversation with someone that has opposing views than I have, I am stubborn enough to know I will not change my thought process. When discussing something I am extremely passionate about and believe strongly in, I will simply explain my reasoning to the other person and understand everyone is free to have their own beliefs and I will not try changing the other person.

Emotional Boundaries are what gives us the freedom to feel how we feel.

Setting healthy emotional boundaries has two distinct and beneficial purposes. They help prevent us from inflicting others with our emotion and unloading continuously on anyone that will listen, which later we will probably regret doing. Emotional boundaries assist us in managing our emotions in appropriate and healthy ways.

The other aspect of emotional boundaries is they prevent us from taking on and carrying other’s emotions that constantly share. The emotional boundaries we put in place are meant to disconnect our emotions from another person’s emotions, which is where I consistently fail. If someone close to me is struggling and distressed, I want more than anything to be able to help them with love, empathy, and advice. It is painfully difficult accepting that I can’t help or force them to do things I think are mortally right, they are the only person that can help themselves through their problems.

Spiritual Boundaries are protecting our beliefs and regarding to our sense of spirituality.

We are all entitled to believe in what we feel and we should never dismiss what anyone else believes, as no one else should dismiss ours.

Our personal boundaries come in three distinct categories which are defined as:

1. Healthy Boundaries meaning not only does a person value their opinion, but also do not compromise their values for anyone else. They are also welcoming and accepting when others say “NO” to them.

2. Rigid Boundaries are when a person avoids both intimate and has very few close relationships. Typically never asks for any help and often seems to be detached. Those with rigid boundaries distance themselves from others to avoid rejection.

3. Porous Boundaries are when individuals share too much personal information. Not only do those with this form of boundaries have a hard time saying “NO” to other’s requests, but they also become overly consumed with the problems other people are going through. These individuals tolerate abuse and or being disrespected.

If you already have established boundaries in your relationships, that is great and I applaud you for that. On the other hand, if you are like me and want to set boundaries in place for your well-being, I am glad that I am not alone and we can tackle this together. I have found various ways to implement boundaries, but I figure it is best to start easy. I am going to share the four simple steps for straight-forward boundaries.

1. Understand and recognize your limits-

Clearly describe your intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual boundaries with all your relationships first. Take the time to scrutinize previous experiences when you felt unsettled, irritated, bitter, resentful, and or disappointed. It is reasonable the reason we felt this way was a result of your limits being violated.

2. Be assertive-

Taking time to create and explain your boundaries is a step in the right direction, but maintaining follow-through is also critical. When someone invades our boundaries the only they are going to know is if we are direct and assertive with that them.

3. Practice makes perfect-

Being assertive may not come naturally to you because you are worried people will view you as mean and or rude. When we confirm what our boundaries are it shows that you value yourself, your needs, and your feelings more than what others think. It does not indicate you are being rude or even mean when you are assertive; it actually means you are being honest and fair with the other person.

4. If all else fails, delete, ignore, and move on-

Of course, we need to voice what our boundaries are first and then follow an action plan. You do need to tie up any loose ends and given family, friends, co-workers, and whoever else about the cease to any promises previously made, and you no longer owe them anything more. Once you asserted yourself and made things crystal clear, if they choose to violate your boundaries, it is perfectly acceptable to simply ignore them.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my site today. I hope the information provided was beneficial for you. Life is short and being constantly consumed with everyone else’s problems can be draining. I am hoping that developing boundaries, I will be less stressed and frustrated with the problems I hear about. I would love it if you have any other advice for anyone that wants to develop boundaries, you will share your knowledge! I hope your weekend is going well and you are staying very safe. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, and many positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

16 thoughts on “Boundaries and how to set them

    • It isn’t easy to be assertive, especially when you are naturally kind. I have always been horrible with setting and maintaining boundaries and it has caused problems. I am working on it though and hopefully will be successful sooner than later. The one more chance, when it probably the 20th chance is just frustrating. I wish you the best of luck with being assertive and setting boundaries. I believe in you and know you can do it!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. this is such an important topic Alyssa, thank you. Boundaries are important for everyone to set up, but when you live with a chronic illness it is even more important – we don’t need to waste our precious energy on toxic people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How They would you handle this Boundary?
    You are in your own car, driving. You have a CD disc playing with music you really like, alot. But, another family member is in the front passenger seat. They say your Music sucks and to listen to it on your own time as they don’t want to listen to that Sh*t.

    But its YOUR Car. Who is in charge?—in your house. ON your property and IN your car? And then they say: But I’m a captive audience here. Do you shut it off? If you say yes, you would, maybe to “keep the peace”—you have just been Manipulated! Would you go over to their house and tell them to turn on a different TV channel? But you say: you can walk out or leave, but they, are in your car. But why not say, you will be MORE than happy to pull the car over and let them out—and if they are going to ride with you, in your car, then its your rules. NO ONE FORCED THEM to ride with you. It’s a chance they take.

    They say: it wont kill you to “go without it” for an hour. By again, who is on who’s “Turf”? They rode with you VOLUNTARILY. By the same token it also wont kill THEM to “put up with it” for an hour.

    And they say: but I have a headache.
    Don’t fall for it. If you shut the music off for this, they will have a “headache” every time they ride with you.

    and then they say: Well, iiiiii wouldn’t be “insistent” like this if you were in MY car.
    Maybe. Maybe not, but they would be entirely within their rights. And so I ask—-

    Do you disagree with any of this? Am I within my rights? Would you handle it differently? How?…and why?

    Liked by 1 person

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