Hello Thrive family! My name is Erica, and I am new to the Thrive therapy team. I am excited to get started and begin helping our clients make positive, lasting, change in their lives.
When asked to write a blog post, I was immediately drawn to writing about boundaries. This seems to be a hot topic right now, and my clients frequently struggle with setting boundaries in their lives. We talk a lot about setting boundaries but, what are boundaries, exactly? How do we create them, and why are they important?
Boundaries are the mental, emotional, and physical limitations that we set in our relationships. Boundaries are our definition of what is acceptable and unacceptable in our lives. Without boundaries, individuals find themselves overwhelmed with the demands of work, interpersonal relationships, and commitments.
Undefined or blurry boundaries leave us vulnerable to being taken advantage of by others or burning out in work and relationships. It’s important to remember: boundaries are not about disrespecting others, but about respecting ourselves enough to do what is best for us. Boundaries are a type of self-care that we rarely discuss.
Here are some simple tips for creating boundaries in your life:
- Know your limits
- In work or play, knowing what you can and cannot accomplish is key. Knowing your limitations and sticking to them will keep you from ever feeling overextended.
- Be clear
- Take the time to decide what is ok and not ok in your relationships. What are your deal breakers? What do you need out of a friend? What do you expect from your family? What is important in your romantic relationship? Once you have decided this, make your expectations known. Be clear with the people in your life about what you need to feel fulfilled in that relationship.
- Utilize assertive communication
- Once you’ve established your limits, be assertive in maintaining them. Being assertive involves respecting others while standing your ground. Tell the other person your perspective on the situation, let them know how you feel about it, and then inform them of your desired solution.
- Limit “work talk”
- Set a timer when you get home to designate how long you can talk about work with a family member, friend, or spouse. This will help you to vent about the day and then leave it behind you.
- Take care of yourself first
- I can’t say it enough: self care, self care, self care. Taking care of yourself first allows you to be emotionally and mentally present to take care of those around you. Try your best to be mindful, be present, and take joy in life’s beauty.
- Get comfortable saying “no”
- Saying no is ok. If you’re not comfortable saying no yet, suggest a compromise. Don’t want to go to dinner with a friend tonight? Suggest a time that fits better into your schedule. Don’t want to have that talk with your partner right now? Suggest a time-out and schedule a time to reconvene. This allows others to feel valued and heard, while also respecting your limits.
- Respect the boundaries of others
- Those around you are more likely to be receptive to you setting boundaries when you have shown respect for theirs.
- Did you try and set a boundary and it didn’t go as planned? Try again! The more you assert your personal limits, the more others will respect your limits and the better you will get at sticking to them.
Want to talk more about how you can create boundaries in your life? Come see me! Implement these tips, and you’ll already be off to a great start!
Erica Christmas, MC, LAC