Developing Healthy Personal Boundaries.
There is a truth in my life that is unavoidable and has taken much pain to learn. As difficult as they can be to navigate, I need healthy relationships. But in order to have healthy relationships personal boundaries need to be established.
In this article we will discuss what healthy personal boundaries tend to look like. As well as discussing some manageable ways to develop them.
What are Personal Boundaries?
A simple definition of a boundary is that it is a “dividing line.” Not surprising for you to hear, It is the place where one thing ends and another begins.
With relationships comes boundaries, there is me and then there is the other. Sure we may share in a relationship. Though we are most certainly our own individuals.
Any one of the many relationships I am a part of do not make me, me. I am not my marriage, my family, my job, or the recovery program I attend. These are relationships I am a part of, and though they are extremely important to my healthy world, they are only a part of my world.
Without personal boundaries any relationship could turn into a distraction from the rest of life. Meaning that they will get way too much of our time, attention and effort. We can engulf them and them engulf us. Leaving other areas of our life to suffer, which in turn causes suffering for ourselves. As well as harms the relationships we end up neglecting.
Why Our Personal Boundaries are Important.
Our personal boundaries set the parameters for the type of lives we are going to live. They decide what we do, who we do them with, where we do them, and how often. If we do not figure out the proper boundaries we need to live the types of lives we deep down desire, well then we are set for some disappointment in life.
To progress in the multitude of areas in our lives, we need balance and proper time management. We need to learn to say no when we need to say no, and yes when we need to say yes. Understanding that we are the only individual in control of our next moves is crucial in seeing the importance of personal boundaries. Only I can let my work know that I cannot pick up that extra shift. And I don’t think anyone else is going to let my wife know that I need that next recovery meeting.
Detaching from what we think, others think we should be taking care of, is a difficult thing. But it’s the only way to properly care for the dizzying amount of responsibilities all us productive folks human beings have.
Without personal boundaries we may also end up with not enough personal time. Becoming resentful as people seek too much of our time and we don’t have the boundaries to say sorry but I can’t help with that. We also may end up allowing unhealthy people too much freedom to mingle in our worlds. And may end up taking advantage of us in return.
There are many reasons that personal boundaries are important. But where do we begin with creating the healthy version?
Developing Healthy Boundaries is On Ourselves.
First of all when it comes to healthy personal boundaries, they are of course personal. They are our own. Nobody can set up our personal boundaries for us. That responsibility falls squarely on ourselves.
Since healthy boundaries are personal, I take that to mean that they may look very different from person to person. This is because we all have different values and beliefs, and different levels of comfortableness with stretching our boundaries. Nobody can tell us what is important to us or what is manageable for us. They be able to give us some hints, but ultimately we have to find all this out through our own trial and error.
Finding Boundary Balance.
To handle the responsibility of developing healthy boundaries it is important to understand a few things. It’s important to know whether our boundaries are currently too rigid and keep too many of our relationships shut out. Or do they seem to be nonexistent, not allowing ourselves to stand up for ourselves. If we can’t be sure on our own, then we can ask a handful of trusted friends and they should be able to help find valuable info.
Having too rigid of boundaries may make us seem a little scary and ward off potential opportunities to grow. Whereas too loose of boundaries may have us all over the place, tossed around by the requests and attention of others. Both of them have their dangers and their rewards. What we are looking for here is a balanced approach, one that neither makes us too scary to others. But also doesn’t leave us looking and feeling like pushovers. And of course allows ourselves to have our own personal decision making space to feel in control of our lives.
Developing a balanced approach may not be easy if we are entrenched in a certain boundary pattern. It will require experimentation with new habits. As well as feeling all sorts of emotional energy that fuels the old habits.
What Healthy Boundaries May Look Like.
A lot of the time when my personal boundaries are on point, I don’t even need to let others know what they are. They just get a feel for them.
But that is not always the case so learning to communicate boundaries effectively is the only way to ensure that they will be respected. The assertive approach for letting others know we are busy and unavailable is best. This means respectfully but promptly letting requesters understand why we are unavailable.
But I feel even most people with already assertive natures will go a little too far in teaching others the lessons of their boundary breaking. Or they may try to sneak off, avoiding requests they would rather not partake in. I am guilty of both of these. Honestly though I think these tendencies are just part of being human. There is nothing wrong with them as long as they don’t become our primary approaches.
I feel the next important aspect is that they are set and shown consistently. This speaks to integrity. If I am going to tell people I have certain boundaries, then that is something people should be able to expect in the future. And if we are going to break them, then we better have a damn good reason. Because believe me, people are going to notice.
Of course life changes often though, and as responsibilities change so do priorities and boundaries. I know this well since my wife and I welcomed our beautiful baby girl into the world. Through the process I have come to find that as long as my boundary changes are reasonable and well communicated, my relationships seem to be understanding.
Setting healthy personal boundaries can be a difficult thing to do. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to avoid relationships altogether. But having healthy relationships is very important to building a healthy life. Learning to develop healthy boundaries can ensure that we are able to balance out our relationship workloads. Getting the most out of them while still having our presence enjoyed.
I wish you well on your path to finding healthy personal boundaries. And thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
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Much Love, Travis
My Life Experiment
Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.