How To Set Boundaries
By Elizabeth Marks
During the time of COVID, boundaries have taken on a new definition. We’ve had to create boundaries for personal comfort like never before. Friends and family constantly set boundaries with what they are or aren’t comfortable discussing in many aspects of their life, so why can’t you? It’s important to remember that boundaries are necessary for our mental health. Setting boundaries does not need to be something that is big and scary, it can be as simple as three steps.
What can boundaries do?
- Improve self-esteem
- Help us gain autonomy
- Protect ourselves
- Keep us strong and avoiding burnout
How to set boundaries- a three step plan
- Interpret the boundary for yourself. When a boundary needs to be set, ask yourself why it’s important and work to find parameters. By further interpreting it for yourself, it will cement that a change has to take place and give you confidence to make that change.
- Explain the boundary. If you are building a house, you need a foundation. Start to tell your friend, boss, partner, or whomever you are setting the boundary with, what the parameters are and why you are setting them. Avoid excuses and make sure to lean into your definition of the boundary but remember, you don’t have to tell your life story. An example is “I don’t feel comfortable doing that” instead of “well, I used to feel comfortable but for now because of X Y Z, maybe later…”
- Reiterate this boundary when needed. People say rules are meant to be broken, but show the other person that this is not that time. If or when it comes up, restate your boundary.
Like anything, start small! You’ll be surprised to see how setting a boundary will actually make you closer to others and lead to respectful relationships.