When I was first confronted with the term ‘setting personal boundaries’, I was not so sure I understood what that person was saying. I mean, I’m not completely ignorant, so I knew what ‘boundaries’ meant, but what does ‘setting personal boundaries’ mean? Here’s why you need to set personal boundaries, and how you can be setting personal boundaries without the guilt.Setting personal boundaries without the guilt #Fibromyalgia Click To Tweet
Why set personal boundaries?
When I searched ‘setting personal boundaries’ there were many, many results. All of them pointed to the same thing:
I couldn’t agree more!!
I also came across this quote:
And here’s what Mark Manson says about boundaries in his book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, on page 181:
“People with strong boundaries understand that it’s unreasonable to expect two people to accommodate each other 100 percent and fulfill every need the other has. People with strong boundaries understand that they may hurt someone’s feelings sometimes, but ultimately they can’t determine how other people feel. People with strong boundaries understand that a healthy relationship is not about controlling one another’s emotions, but rather about each partner supporting the other in their individual growth and in solving their own problems.”
He goes on to discuss these boundaries in a healthy relationship on page 183:
“For a relationship to be healthy, both people must be willing and able to both say no and hear no. Without that negation, without that occasional rejection, boundaries break down and one person’s problems and values come to dominate the other’s. Conflict is not only normal, then; it’s absolutely necessary for the maintenance of a healthy relationship. If two people who are close are not able to hash out their differences openly and vocally, then the relationship is based on manipulation and misrepresentation, and it will slowly become toxic.”
Setting Personal Boundaries
How do we go about setting personal boundaries?
Let’s break down the term ‘setting boundaries’ into six parts – the ‘Who, What, When, Where, and How’.
Who do you set boundaries with?
Setting boundaries should be done with anyone in your life that you come into contact with. That can be a stranger, your spouse, your significant other, boss, co-worker, your kids, parents, etc.
What exactly is a boundary?
A boundary can be thought of as the fence of your personal space. There are only certain (positive) ‘things’ you will allow through the fence and in your personal space. ‘Things’ can be defined as a behavior, words, interactions, limits, and so on.
What types of boundaries are there?
There are physical, verbal, intellectual, and emotional boundaries. There may be more, but these are the ones I know of without doing research. (I’m keeping this relatable, so I don’t want to become too bogged down with facts and numbers. This will just be overwhelming.)
When do I set boundaries?
Always be setting boundaries each day! Whenever a violation has been made, speak up about it immediately. Do not wait for the moment to pass. Remain calm, say how that person broke your boundary, and be clear that you do not want the boundary to be broken again. You may not feel confident to address it at the time, but the more often you do it, the more your confidence will build.
Where do you set boundaries?
It does not matter where you are when you set boundaries. It should be in your home, the office, in public, friends’ houses, everywhere. Always, always have your boundaries.
How do I set boundaries?
Set boundaries by speaking up about what is NOT okay with you. This does not have to be done in a confrontational tone or by being rude. It’s using clear communication, a firm voice, and a serious face. Let the violator know that it is NOT tolerable by you and will NOT allow it. Again, this pertains to any type of violation – verbal, physical, emotional, intellectual.
How you are already setting boundaries
Are you feeling confused, overwhelmed, or unsure about this ‘setting boundaries’ thing? Don’t!
You let your kids know what is okay and what is not okay, right? That’s setting a boundary.
If someone was stealing out of your purse, would you let them? That’s setting a boundary.
How I’m doing with boundaries
I’m still practicing how/when to set personal boundaries, but since beginning it, it has made a few changes in my life. Living with chronic pain and fibromyalgia does numerous things on a person’s esteem and confidence, but now I feel more secure in my surroundings, and with others. My pain levels are not as severe, but I think that has more to do with lower stress levels I get from setting personal boundaries. All in all, it’s been a healthy benefit emotionally, physically, and mentally! I’ve even extended this to my kids’ friends. Read about why and how I did it.