If you ask yourself if you set boundaries in your personal relationships, the most likely answer is “no”. Why? It may be because you see relationships as connection you need to give everything to. This puts you at risk of hurting yourself or putting yourself in real danger.
Setting boundaries for personal relationships won’t get in the way of healthy relationships. Instead, it will help them grow.
This is because when you don’t set boundaries, you open the door to everyone. This includes manipulators, toxic people, and emotional vampires. These can make you bitter and do a lot of damage.
Why is it so difficult to set limits on your personal relationships?
The reason why we often don’t set boundaries in our personal relationships is complicated. It stems from different fears, insecurity and even because of different beliefs that you may have.
For instance, if you have a low self-esteem, you’ll think that you’re not as important as everyone else. Because of this, you’ll put up with humiliation, insult, and even manipulation.
If you don’t set limits, it’s often because you think you don’t deserve them.
You might also have an unfounded fear of arguing with other people. The fear here is that they’ll disapprove and will stop taking care of you, or that conflict will undermine your safety.
Despite all of this, the bigger problem isn’t that you have a low self-esteem. It isn’t even that you don’t want to argue with others. The problem is that you don’t know how to set boundaries in your personal relationships.
You aren’t taught to be assertive. You also aren’t taught to communicate or defend your own needs. Because of this, you need to learn. But, how?
- Start by saying “no” to everything you don’t want to do or don’t have time for. It doesn’t matter what others say, if they get mad, or even how bad you may look. Make what you want a priority.
- Use “I” to say what you feel and want. For instance: “I’m tired of going to this meeting”. Don’t use excuses. Be clear.
- Don’t say you’re sorry every time you say what you want. For instance, change the “I’m sorry, but I want to stay home” to “I want to stay home”.
- Don’t justify yourself when you’re giving an opinion or making a decision. You don’t need to do this, even if the other person is upset. You need to be confident in yourself.
Learn to be yourself
To put limits on your personal relationships, sometimes it’s necessary to learn to be yourself again. This means to trust yourself, to give up pleasing other people, and stop looking for their approval.
This is very difficult. After all, as a child, you’re taught to please the people around you.
However, small steps like saying “no” and stopping someone from making you change your mind to what they want can help you.
When do you need to set boundaries in your personal relationships?
The answer is when you feel uncomfortable.
The moment that something takes your energy away, makes you feel bad, or demands all of your attention, this is when you need to start putting up boundaries.
Because of this, it’s very important to express yourself as you are.
This includes refusing to do something when you don’t want to, expressing yourself without feeling guilty or shame from what others might think, and giving up constant explanations.
You need to learn to look out for your own well-being. This doesn’t depend on others, but on yourself.
By doing this, you’ll start to see that you can change. You’ll see how to learn to be more assertive so that you avoid letting others manipulate you and how to express what you want without feeling guilty or afraid of how others will react.
Will you start to put limits on your personal relationships today?