As human beings we have the tendency to over work ourselves until our batteries run low. We try and multitask so many areas of our lives, that our relationships and mental health often get neglected. One of the areas a therapist will focus on their client with is setting personal boundaries.  

Setting personal boundaries for yourself is crucial when bettering your mental health because they allow you to have mutual respect and support within your relationships.  We see many clients who put their own needs on the back-burner because they have a difficult time opening up to their partner, family member, or friend that their actions are hurting them. The boundaries you set will help others understand what behaviors are acceptable and which ones are crossing a line.

There are many ways to establish boundaries and understand what boundaries should be set for each relationship.  One activity we love is writing down each of your relationships, and how that person has made you happy and where they have left you feeling hurt.  This will allow you to understand what exactly they do to make you feel unhappy, and moving forward you can discuss these behaviors with them.  

After you have established these boundaries, it is likely they will get crossed at times.  Here are some ways you can ensure your boundaries are being enforced:

  1. Exit the room if you feel they are not respecting your boundaries.
  2. Let them know that they are pushing the boundaries and have an open conversation about how it makes you feel when they are pushed.
  3. If your boundaries are not respected when having a conversation, try changing the subject to move your conversation in a different direction.
  4. Don’t feel guilt or shame when enforcing your boundaries, learn to put yourself first.

It is important to make a note of the things you don’t want people to say to you, do to you, or do around you.  If you always make yourself available to someone, they will expect you to be there every time no matter the circumstance.  Try declining their call every once in a while, or saying no when they repeatedly ask you to help them with something.

Setting boundaries is not an easy process and will differ in each of your relationships.  The boundaries you set for your significant other, may be completely different than the boundaries you set for your mom and that’s okay!  Once you have established strong, clear boundaries, your relationships will become stronger and you will have more control over what you allow or don’t allow.  By setting these limits, you can, ask for what you really want and need without fear of judgment or feeling guilty. 

Don’t be afraid to set boundaries, and when you do, watch your relationships begin to thrive!