Do you have boundaries in your relationship?
Do you know what boundaries are and how to establish them?
If you answered no, you are not alone!
I was in my late 30s before I knew what a personal boundary was.
In a post, Oprah Winfrey said, "The best thing about turning 40 was learning to say no". Saying no to things you don't want to do, is empowering and it's a way to set a personal boundary. No is a full sentence, it doesn't need anything after it. There is no need to add an explanation or apology. Just say no!
Here's one of the best analogies I've come across to explain what boundaries are.
"Having no personal boundaries is like having a home without any windows, or doors and, you let anyone come in and take what they want when they want to"
I'm sure you would feel mortified if you lived in a house where anyone could enter, anytime, without your permission. Yet, without firm boundaries in place, daily you allow others to do just that. Setting boundaries puts you in a place of power and choice. You get to choose how you spend your precious time, and who you spend it with. It's so magical when you start to set boundaries.
You also get to decide how people treat you. You choose what behaviour you are happy with and are willing to accept and what you aren't going to put up with. You can stand in your power. You can live a life that aligns with who you are, what makes you happy and your values.
Setting boundaries can be a struggle. It can often mean to say no to people, especially your significant other. It often feels good to be needed and to help others. Consider for a moment though, when you say yes to something you don't want to do, what are you sacrificing for yourself? For many, it means giving up something else you wanted to do.
There are many reasons you might find it hard to set boundaries. Here are a few of the common challenges people face:
You don't want to miss out on anything or run the risk of not being liked by others
You suffer from low self-esteem, it's important to you that others accept you
You have a natural tendency to want to please others
You learnt over time to stop asking for what you want
You worry that others will reject you
You don't have enough self-confidence to say what you want or think
Creating strong boundaries builds respect and equality in your relationship. When boundaries aren't present in your relationship, this is how it may manifest:
You feel resentment towards your partner, which isn't always containable, a step too far and your feelings and emotions erupt
You feel taken for granted, often feeling marginalised and like you don't matter
You find it hard to express yourself
This lack of expression can result in poor behaviour or childlike reactions to situations
You feel like you are always the one that gives in during a conflict or when you have an argument
Your mood is variable, you can suffer from low moods and a lack of physical or mental energy
You feel at odds with the world and in your relationship
Setting and maintaining your boundaries is good for you and it's good for your relationship. In doing so you will overcome many of the common challenges highlighted above. Your self-esteem will flourish. You will no longer feel the need to please everyone, all the time. You will feel more confident and have no fear of sharing this with others. Suddenly you can stand up for yourself and say what's on your mind.
Would you like to start setting boundaries but, don't know where to start? Are you ready to improve the strength of your relationship?
I work with clients just like you. Having support to work out what your boundaries should be will help. Coaching provides a safe, confidential, non-judgement space to explore this and much more. Curious about what coaching can do for you, and your relationship. Schedule a call, it's free! We can chat about what you'd like to achieve and decide if coaching is right for you. There's no pressure, it's just a friendly chat.
If you've enjoyed this blog, here are a few more suggestions, enjoy!
Podcast Episode 54 - Types of Boundaries
Podcast Episode 33 - Top 3 Reasons Why Boundaries Fail
Blog Post - The Guide to Strong Relationship Boundaries