Building Better BoundariesNovember 25, 2016
We are quick approaching the time of year when many of us have family obligation after family obligation throughout the holidays. If the thought of spending a day, afternoon or even a meal with your family sends a jolt of panic through your psyche, it's time to prepare yourself and build better boundaries.
Taking the time to build better boundaries with family members will enable you to find your way to an improved relationship that honors both your emotional security and your commitment to being a member of your family.
Step 1: Connect with Yourself
You are responsible for setting boundaries that provide you with a sense of safety and security. In order to know what boundaries to set, you have to identify your emotions and your personal triggers.
Observe your feelings while you interact with different family members. Take particular note of times that you feel anger, frustration, resentment or guilt and what led up to those feelings.
Step 2: Know Where You Stand
You can't expect others to respect your stance if you don't know your own limits. After connecting with yourself and identifying situations that set you off, clarify where you stand and your limits. Whether you write your boundaries in a journal or share them with a trusted friend, the act of stating your boundaries will give you clarity on your limits.
Step 3: Articulate Your Boundary
After you take identify when someone crosses your boundaries, it's time to determine the steps that you need to take to enforce your boundary. Take this action as your opportunity to articulate what steps you need to take to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Step 4: Communicate Your Boundaries
Unfortunately, or fortunately for some, people do not read minds. This fact means that once you identify and clarify your boundaries, you have to communicate those boundaries with the people who love to cross them. This step is when things get difficult. Don't be surprised if people respond to your boundaries by pushing back and testing your newfound limits.
Step 5: Stay Calm and Confident
After you start to enforce your boundaries, remain calm and confident, even if it makes others act out in anger. Remember, you can only control your actions. Staying calm and confident will help you enforce the new boundaries, no matter how many times someone pushes back.
It's very common for someone to have an adverse reaction when you stand up for yourself and enforce a boundary. Don't let this take you by surprise and come up with different strategies that will help you replenish your energy as you stand firm.
When you take the time build better boundaries, you are taking the time to invest in your mental health, which helps you to enjoy the benefits of healthy relationships with the people in your life. It's not selfish to put yourself first, no matter what anyone tells you!