5 Tips on setting healthy boundaries with others
Can you genuinely say that you know yourself?
To set healthy boundaries, first, you need to know who you’re deep within. This is the essential step that so many people try to skip. Self-honesty isn’t about what kind of ice-cream you like or what’s your favorite movie.
Knowing yourself is about recognizing your strengths, as well as your weaknesses and fears. When you’re honest with yourself, you realize what dreams you have and what you’d like to achieve in your life.
I know how easy it’d be if someone told you what exactly you need to do with your life. But it’s only YOUR job to act on the essence you feel within yourself.
It’s you who need to see your gifts and acknowledge your dreams.
This is the art of self-honesty; when you know what you deeply desire, you can set your course towards your dreams without letting anyone interfere negatively.
When you’re honest with yourself, you also acknowledge what you need to work on and the areas of your life that need more of your attention. When you set your mindset to recognizing that every challenge is here to help you grow internally, then it doesn’t matter whether you receive negative feedback.
Life happens FOR you, not TO you. The universe guides you to your best self, which also means that at times other people need to become your mirrors and reflect you what you don’t want to see so that you can learn the necessary lessons.
2. Breaking promises
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had many people in my life who promised me something, but it has never happened. I don’t like empty promises. But the worst empty promise you can make is the one to yourself.
When you break a promise to yourself, you allow others to treat you the same.
How many times have you decided to get fit, find a better job, or start a new hobby? I guess that you’ve promised yourself something many times. But how often have you kept these promises?
When you let yourself down, you find excuses for people who do the same to you.
You think, “I’ll make a little exception now with this person because they beg me and they’re good friends. I excuse that they’ve promised something but got too busy.”
But allowing others to break promises to you is like a slow poison. It releases into your mind and life gradually. At first, it seems that it’s not a big deal, but in time you begin to feel like you’ve lost a piece of yourself.
Remember the last time when someone hasn’t kept their word to you. How did you feel? Disappointed, rejected, cheated, or taking advantage of?
The only lasting way to stop this vicious circle is to honor your word that you give yourself. Before taking a new commitment, allow yourself some time to think about it. Maybe it’ll be better if you begin a few months from now because now you’ve other obligations, so the chance that you follow through increases.
Don’t rush when you give yourself a promise. Sometimes, the best is to be silent and check with yourself if you really mean it, and you’re ready to do the work.
3. Toxic people
It wouldn’t be a proper conversation about setting healthy boundaries without mentioning poisonous people.
Who are the toxic people?
Those are the people who suck your energy and hope. They have the unusual ability to turn everything into dust and shadow. Their words and deeds are poisonous, and you wish they could just disappear.
Primarily, they dislike your dreams – when you share what you want with them, they make sure that you feel like your dreams are too unrealistic and unachievable.
Has anyone experienced these people?
It’s not always possible to cut them off our lives. They might be your parents or co-workers.
If this is the case, you can turn it to your advantage.
These toxic people are here to show you how you can step into your power and learn to say no. The only thing they respect is someone who isn’t afraid of them and doesn’t play their games of superiority-inferiority.
You can look at them as your trainers who are showing you when to stand up for yourself and your dreams. In a way, what they say or think doesn’t matter. It’s just a lesson for you to state what you want and do it anyway.
Another category is energy vampires who parasite on your energy.
Our task is NOT to fix them or change them. Our responsibility is to set clear boundaries, and as a result, they’ll fall off your life. When energy vampires don’t receive their sustenance, they move on.
4. Love and validation
If I were to sum up why we let other people walk with their dirty feet on our mind (to paraphrase Gandhi), then it’s our search for their love.
Now, it’s the moment for self-honesty! Choose one person you allow to violate your boundaries and think why you let them do it. What is the actual reason?
Unconsciously, we want other people to approve of us and love us. We want to belong and be admired and recognized for who we truly are.
We want to be lovable because we don’t accept and love ourselves entirely.
There are parts of us that desperately need our love, but we think that we cannot give it to them, so we start looking for love outside ourselves.
The first step to change this is to recognize why you TRULY search for someone else’s validation.
Once you recognize what it is, then you can work with it. The hidden need to search for love usually doesn’t disappear by itself. It’s the result of years of conditioning and abandoning ourselves.
If you want to let it go for good, find someone who can help you to process it. But be ready to do the work and realize that it doesn’t happen overnight. There are many experts from psychologists, therapeutists, to life coaches who can safely guide you.
Another thing is to be aware of when you seek external validation for your dreams and stop it.
With tip number 4 is closely related the self-confidence. Whenever we think that we’re not whole (which is most of the time for most of the people), then we quickly negate our opinions.
If you struggle with low self-confidence, then, first of all, you can determine why exactly you don’t believe in yourself.
You might have parents who don’t believe in you and your dreams. Or you’ve not heard compliments often, so you began to think that there is nothing you’re good at. Or maybe your ex-classmates were making fun of you in high school. Or you’ve had a relationship where the partner treated you poorly, and you stopped valuing yourself.
Many little things influence the way we perceive ourselves.
But one thing is for sure, if you lack a healthy sense of yourself, then you let other people affect you and sometimes even choose the way you live for you. Thus, it’s essential to do some inner work so you can build healthy self-confidence.