For any relationship to be successful, boundaries are necessary – healthy boundaries. Boundaries help both parties know what their partners expect from them and how exactly they expect it. When you set relationship boundaries, it’s easy to identify your inner strengths and individuality. It helps you redefine who you are and what you stand for.
This article will discuss three major points. First, it will give a clear insight into the concept of healthy boundaries in its entirety. Second, it will describe what it takes to set relationship boundaries. And third, it will inform you of why every relationship needs healthy boundaries.
Having relationship boundaries keeps a relationship going smoothly. When you adhere to set relationship boundaries, resentment will hardly happen in your relationships. Both you and your partner will be happy.
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How the Absence of Boundaries Can Mar You
I used to be a “yes” person. You know, a people’s pleaser. The one who does not want people to be mad at her or the one who makes sure everyone is happy while discomforting herself. People took advantage of me because I lacked self-respect, a result of not setting relationship boundaries.
My life was such that everyone could do anything – I mean, anything – and get away with it. They would do these things repeatedly because I kept letting them. People-pleasing only hurt me and put so much pressure on my mental health.
People-pleasing will ruin you. It will ruin your ability to do things for yourself because you are always in constant need of validation by others. What you should know is, people are impossible to please. You would always have a constant desire for validation from others and you would never gain the self-confidence to be you and would continue to be under the shadows of others. People-pleasing is hard to break from but you can do it!
What are Relationship Boundaries?
According to Sarri Gilman’s TEDxTalks of TEDxSnolsleLibaries, “your yeses and nos are what make up boundaries.” Boundary setting is the gateway to a healthy guilt-free lifestyle.
Shut out the noise and listen to yourself more. Seize the opportunity of one unnecessary disrespect to set a relationship boundary. Not setting relationship boundaries and being a people pleaser won’t make people love you more. A person who has not set relationship boundaries is not noble, and this often comes from a place of fear. The fear of people’s actions is what made me lack boundaries in my personal life.
My life took a turn for the best when I began to notice the pattern of events around me. I began to place everyone in their respective places. It was difficult at first, but it is so worth it!
Setting Healthy Relationship Boundaries
Deciding to set relationship boundaries is crucial to your general well-being. It helps you to make decisions based on what is best for you and you alone. Some might think that to set relationship boundaries is selfish or self-centred but it’s not. Setting healthy boundaries with those around you helps your physical and mental wellbeing. It is simply an important part of self-care
Many of us take care of our bodies by consuming the right amount of nutrients and also exercising to keep fit. However, we forget one of the most important aspects of self-care which is making necessary relationship boundaries in our everyday lives. This helps to keep us mentally fit as we do not always have to worry about the actions of other people.
If you are that person who thinks people take advantage of you, you are probably right. And the implication is that you, my darling, do not know how to set relationship boundaries.
How to Set Relationship Boundaries
It is important to note first that, in setting relationship boundaries, you need to first figure out your likes and dislikes in your relationships with others. Establishing set relationship boundaries based on the above and then being clear and strict with yourself and others about those set relationship boundaries.
Yes, without self-respect, you won’t achieve healthy boundaries with your friends, lovers, siblings, or even your parents. It is the lack of self-respect that makes people walk over you however they deem fit.
Build that healthy barrier that puts people in their respective places. When a person does something you are not comfortable with, address it immediately! Never let it pass if it’s something that you are not comfortable with.
For instance, someone disrespects you publicly. If you wait a while before calling them out, you’re giving room for more disrespect. Let them know immediately that you’re uncomfortable with what they did. Don’t continuously let it slide and just move on. You need to talk about it there and ask them to apologize!
Never pretend things people’s actions don’t bother you. Don’t pretend like things don’t get under your skin. There are ways of relating with people without an iota of disrespect. Let people know what’s on your mind. Let people know how their actions make you feel. Also, let them know if they have stepped over any of your set relationship boundaries.
Don’t be afraid of disagreeing with someone or standing up for yourself. As the saying goes, speak your truth. Even if your voice shakes, speak your truth.
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Be bold, be assertive
Know when someone isn’t respecting your boundaries. You can not continue to let disrespect slide because it grooms people’s unhealthy habits.
When you set healthy boundaries, people know that they can’t disrespect you easily. In this kind of situation, you need to remember that it is not your responsibility to relieve them of whatever your boundary setting has invoked in them.
I know it is going to be hard, but you should know that they have to deal with their feelings for their personal growth and well-being.
Discuss your concerns with your partner
Have a heart-to-heart talk with your partner. Tell them how you feel about them not respecting your set relationship boundaries. Suggest healthy ways on how they can improve and be open to compromise. Listen to them and be compassionate. Also, understand where the other person is coming from.
Outline your boundaries
You should never overlook setting relationship boundaries. It is the bedrock of every healthy relationship. One of the ways to set relationship boundaries is to sit with your partner and have honest conversations regarding their likes and dislikes.
Without clearly set relationship boundaries, you may end up feeling disconnected from yourself.
Do away with people-pleasing
Setting healthy boundaries limits the amount of “see finish” you would encounter from people around you, especially Nigerians. It makes you less anxious and it protects you from the stress of having to explain yourself to people all the time. You can not please everyone and the earlier you accept this truth, the better.
Learn to start focusing on yourself and see how everyone adjusts. Those people you think are hurting their emotions by being assertive would one day admire and respect your set boundaries. And if they don’t, it is in your best interest to let them be and move on to having a healthy stress free lifestyle. Mingle with others who would respect you and your set boundaries.
Read also: How to value yourself as a Nigerian
Now let’s talk about the various types of boundaries we need to inculcate in our everyday lives.
Types of Boundaries in Various Relationships
Setting relationship boundaries with friends and family, acquaintances, and bosses at work requires you to understand the type of boundaries. You can’t set the same type of boundary for your boss at work and also for your spouse or your parents. Everyone has their respective role to play in your life and so, the boundary used for A would not work on B.
These boundaries have to do with your thought processes and how you conceive ideas. When people around you don’t respect your opinions, it means that they don’t respect your intellectual boundary.
For instance, you come up with an idea that you think might help your team ace an assignment. If a colleague shuts you down in a rude manner, it means they don’t respect you intellectually. In a situation like this, you need to be firm in asserting yourself. To set relationship boundaries means to amplify your voice such that your audience hears both the spoken and unspoken message. If you fail to do that, other colleagues will take a cue from that incident and disrespect you further.
This has to do with your body, realm, and privacy. For instance, you’re someone that prefers to have your items in a particular space. Then, there’s someone who always moves that item to another area knowing that you don’t like it. It’s a disregard to your physical boundaries that you should correct.
This type of boundary has to do with your likes and dislikes regarding sex. Assume you’re the type who is not comfortable with a particular sexual style. If your partner keeps insisting on its without willing to compromise, it means they don’t respect your sexual boundaries.
This type of boundary has to do with your relationship with money. How do you spend money? Are you an impulsive spender? Are you the type who loans out money to friends but will be scared to ask for a refund when it’s payback time? If you are any of these, it simply means that you lack boundaries when it comes to money.
I used to be this person and probably still am, but I am getting conscious of it now. If it’s not important, I don’t spend on it. If you’re the type that goes to the market and buys random fancy things then, you need to make a shopping list when going to the market. This way, you know how much you’d need in the market and are more likely to adhere to the items on your list.
When you loan money to your friends and the money is not returned on the agreed date, learn to ask for your money. If they need more time, give them and remind them to respect the new timeline.
Why You Should Set Relationship Boundaries
There’s a thin line between a healthy happy relationship and a toxic relationship. Lack of boundaries in any type of connection can lead to a toxic relationship. One partner might feel like he or she is contributing more to the growth of the relationship than the other. It could be that a person feels like their partner is too clingy or doesn’t respect physical space. A partner might be worried that they are not spending as much time as they would like to with their other friends and this may cause the relationship to become toxic.
Read also: Signs that you’re in a toxic relationship
Let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No”. Like I stated earlier, be assertive. Know what you want. Know how you want people to treat you and make sure to let others know how to treat you. Let people know when they overstep your set relationship boundaries. Tell them how it makes you feel and how to correct it. Master the art of communication and determine who stays in your life based on how they honour your set relationship boundaries.
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Rabi Yahaya is a content writer whose works have been published by prominent websites in Nigeria.
Remotely works with local and international clients to create engaging content for brands. Creating compelling articles and stories that talk about issues concerning women. A budding SEO writer.