Setting Healthy Boundaries With People In Your Life

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Written by: Sally Stuike

Boundaries can be difficult to set in your life. Your boundaries can be different according to the person you are with or a situation you are in, but your boundaries are valuable to you and to others. They make you feel comfortable and they let others know what you find acceptable.

There are three types of boundaries:
Clear boundaries lets people around you know what you can and cannot do, including time, materials, and emotions. Clear boundaries are set firmly but kindly, and clearly communicates your needs.
● Rigid boundaries are inflexible and lead to isolation. By not doing anything for anyone, you are putting up a wall that results with your needs, and the needs of your loved ones being ignored. People with rigid boundaries often have few relationships.
● Porous boundaries are unclear, ever-changing, and they leave people around you confused. These kinds of boundaries are frustrating for everyone because no one knows what you truly need.

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The goal is to set clear boundaries. Some people with porous boundaries who are learning to set clear ones can sometimes set rigid boundaries, and that’s okay because they are learning. Here are some ways to set clear boundaries.

Be clear. By stating what you need, what you want, and what is not acceptable, you are setting clear boundaries to people in your life. Imagine a friend invites you to see the latest superhero movie and you loathe those kinds of movies. Being clear in your boundaries with this request is telling your friend that you have no interest in going.
● Be simple. No explanations are needed. Remember that “no” is a complete sentence. Let’s go back to the movie invitation. There’s no need to tell your friend why you loathe superhero movies. Your preference is enough explanation.
● Communicate. It’s important to communicate to others when your boundaries have been crossed. Using the movie invite example, if your friend tells you they bought you a ticket to that movie, this is a great opportunity for you to say no, and let them know you
prefer them to ask you before making plans for you.
● Be consistent. Saying yes when you’ve said no in the past leads to confusion for the people around you. They will start making more demands of you, which leads you to become uncomfortable and frustrated. Your friend will never know or remember if you like superhero movies if you go to one, then not to another, then go again. A consistent boundary is helpful for everyone.

If you want to learn about boundaries, how to set them, and how to keep them, please reach out at yourpathinfo@gmail.com. We offer a free 15-minute consultation, and you will be matched with a counsellor who can support you best.

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