Everything revolves around relationships. Whether it is interactions with coworkers who have you feeling on edge all day, something your significant other did, or even your relationship with family members who may get under your skin. Setting boundaries is how we maintain who we are and keeps us feeling like ourselves. The thing about setting boundaries, that people do not understand, is it has absolutely nothing to do with the other person. Oftentimes, people get offended if you do not let them visit your house randomly, or you do not discuss certain topics with them. Setting a healthy boundary with a person is a form of self-care and self love that shows you are grown as hell and aware of yourself. There are so many approaches to blocking the unwanted BS that may come your way without setting healthy boundaries. Here are four:
- Be Aware of Your Feelings – Being mindful in the moment and of your feelings is the key to self awareness. Observing how things make you feel, and speaking that truth is a huge part of self-care. When you truly care for yourself, you honor your emotions and listening and advocating for yourself. If you are on a first date and a dude makes you feel uneasy by making certain advances, do not silence yourself in an effort to be polite. Do not dismiss or ignore how you feel. Be aware of your thoughts so you can communicate them effectively.
- Identify The Line – There is always a line in the sand where jokes end and shade begins. What if your coworker was to make a pass at you? Are you down to mix business and pleasure? When it comes to being called a bitch the line gets a little blurry; maybe it is cool when gossiping with a homegirl, but can bae say it? Some boundaries are not as clear as others, but when the line gets crossed — you feel it. Boundaries should be a part of every interaction we have, but if we do not know ourselves, we do not know what boundaries to set. When you do not do the work to get to know yourself, you are more likely to have low self-esteem, problematic attachment styles, and overall can be a pushover. It is important that you identify where your line is with various topics, and discuss them up front with people you interact with. If you do not like to be called out of your name, make it known. If your friend keeps giving unsolicited advice, speak up, and nip it in the bud.
- Use Assertive Communication – Many times people do not speak up when someone makes them feel uncomfortable because they feel it will be awkward to call the person out. Many people fear they will ruin a moment, or just don’t know how to address the situation so nothing is said at all. These are problematic thought patterns that cause you to silence yourself. Assertive communication is a skill that focuses on your inherent right to feel anyway you may feel, and allows you to share thoughts and feelings honestly while being direct. Practicing assertive communication allows you to own your feelings and speak up for yourself in an assertive way without being aggressive.
- Respect Yourself – Treat yourself the way you want to be treated. This perspective is typically taken when discussing romantic relationships. For instance, if you require a man to pay bills and take you out then you should be able to do these things for yourself as well. Sounds reasonable and it applies to all types of relationships. If you want a friend to meet you at events on time, set that precedent, and set boundaries to protect your time. When you respect yourself, you do not let others disrespect you, your wishes, or your boundaries. Respecting yourself is protecting your own peace.