Creating healthy boundaries

How many of us say ‘yes’ when we mean ‘no’? How many of us do too much for others only to be left depleted and, possibly, resentful?

Creating healthy boundaries in any relationship, whether that be with your child, your husband or your boss, is vital. It tells people exactly what you will allow and how far you are willing to go. A huge part of creating boundaries is about knowing yourself. How can we let people know whether something is ok with us if we don’t really know ourselves? We all have different needs, wants, desires and feelings. Creating boundaries is about knowing what they are. What do WE need? Without establishing healthy boundaries we can easily allow others needs, wants and feelings to over ride our own.

Establishing boundaries is really about exploring how we feel when asked to do something or treated in a way that we do not like. We are allowed to say no, and that does not mean that we are being confrontational. For instance, if you had a member of your family that was constantly calling you, asking you for favours and then treating you badly what would your response be? This kind of example takes exploration. We might need to ask why we are doing something, who is it benefiting, and why are we allowing ourselves to be treated badly? Maybe we have a need to be liked or we just want to keep the peace? Counselling can help with these explorations. Sometimes, we are so entrenched in a relationship that we can’t fully understand why we continue to allow certain behaviours from people.

Once we have explored what is going on we can then begin the work of exploring what it is that we will allow and how much we are ok with. This is about holding firm in our beliefs and being firm if we are being mistreated. A lot of this takes time and practice if it is something that we are not used to. Having conversations with people that express our needs as well as keeping in mind the other person’s feelings needs working on but is ultimately worth it. Eventually, this will bring about peace in yourself. To know that your actions are true to yourself is worth holding onto. If you are struggling with boundaries in relationships then seek counselling. A counsellor will help you to understand any deeper, underlying issues that may be at work in preventing you from establishing healthy boundaries in your relationships.

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