Happy New Year Sunflowers

With the 2020 settling in, I  thought now would be the perfect time to talk about Personal Boundaries. 

Personal Boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.

In this entry, we're going to talk about what boundaries are, how to form them and what to do when someone crosses them. Boundaries, in my opinion, are the elephant in the room for anyone who isn't normally comfortable speaking up for themselves. No one wants to be the one friend that wont go along with something or the "party pooper" but we have these boundaries for a reason. If you have set boundaries it's likely to prevent you from reliving a traumatic event or maybe just because you don't go for certain things. Whatever the reason, know that boundaries are very necessary in living a peaceful and healthy life. 

The first step to creating healthy boundaries is Knowing Your Limits. You need to determine what you will and will not accept. There are so many different kinds of boundaries so I went ahead and grouped them in four different categories:

  • Emotional

  • Physical

  • Social

  • Spiritual

Most of my boundaries are physical, the main being I do not like to be touched, at all. No handshakes, no hugs, no nothing. I let people know this up front because I don't want to run into a situation that results in me acting irrationally when the person might not have known. When I tell people this they often ask "Well what about when you get in a relationship?" or "What about family?". I always say "If you aren't my significant other or family member, then my boundaries with those people should not concern you." You absolutely have to be assertive when it comes to standing up for yourself and what you will and will not accept . When trying to think of what your boundaries are, it helps to examine past experiences where you felt anger, fear, frustration or any kind of discomfort with someone. Those reactions typically stem from someone crossing those lines that you didn't know you'd drawn in the sand. 

Saying you have boundaries is one thing but being able to put your foot down and say that you aren't going to do/accept something is another. Which brings us to the next step, Be Assertive. When stating your boundaries it's best to not beat around the bush. Be direct and don't leave any room for questions or what if's. Being assertive doesn't come as easy to some people and that is fine, we'll work on that together! You want to build up that confidence in your self and your beliefs so that you have no problem speaking up when someone has crossed the line.

There are so many small situation where something might not have gone the way it was supposed to that you can practice being assertive. Let's say you're at a restaurant and the waitress got your order wrong, speak up! Say in a polite but firm voice what you asked for, 9 times out of 10 they won't know they messed up unless you tell them. At the end of the day, you're paying for a service and you want to make sure you get what you asked for. Another example would be you going into Target and you see a top that was originally $25 and it's marked down to $7.99 but the cashier charges you full price. SAY SOMETHING. Remember: You always want to remain level headed and polite because it could've been an oversight of the other person but always always always speak up.

The final step in setting healthy boundaries is knowing when to let go. If you've expressed your boundaries and have been assertive in relaying those boundaries to friends, family and whoever else you feel they apply to and they don't respect them, let them go. There is no use in repeating yourself or getting yourself worked up over someone that clearly does not respect you. Just let them go. You can only be so open and so forgiving before your own peace of mind is compromised. You owe it to yourself to surround yourself with people who love and respect you and your space.

Bottom line, not telling someone that they've crossed the line only leads to resentment on your end and confusion on theirs. The only way to set better boundaries is by practicing how to tell someone they've crossed yours.

I hope this helped someone somewhere with understanding and setting boundaries.

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"I've decided that I'm a good person and that I deserve good things to happen to me- and therefore I've decided that I'm going to pamper myself as much as possible... I'm not gonna let other people make me feel guilty about what I'm doing. I'm not gonna take responsibility for where other people are, no matter who they are or how related they think they are to me."  -Abraham Hicks

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