If you want to have healthy relationships, then being able to establish healthy boundaries with those around you is essential.
We all want to feel valued and respected in our relationships and not made to feel as though we don’t matter or our needs are not important.
Setting healthy boundaries is a form of self love and valuing your worth.
It shows others that we value ourselves and how we expect to be treated.
It means that you can show up in your relationships feeling safe, valued and respected.
We need healthy boundaries in our relationships in order for our relationships to be healthy and reciprocal so that we are not constantly over giving to the detriment of our wellbeing. Otherwise, we put ourselves at risk of emotional burnout, or emotional abuse.
When we over give, this leads to further issues of feeling resentful, disrespected, or intruded upon.
If we find ourselves overgiving to the point where we ignore or dismiss our own needs, then we risk devaluing our self worth.
A common block to being able to set healthy boundaries is identifying your unhelpful underlying beliefs about what it might mean to start setting boundaries in your relationships.
If you think that setting boundaries means that you are being unkind, or that if somebody tries to set a healthy boundary with you, then you feel rejected and hurt, then it is likely you have an underlying limiting belief around what it means to have healthy boundaries in relationships.
Our beliefs tend to stem from what we experienced in our childhoods and other situations that affect our perceptions of the world around us.
If, for example as a child there was a lack of discipline and you were around an unstable or unpredictable environment, then healthy boundaries may be something that feels like a foreign concept.
It can be very difficult as an adult to then instill healthy boundaries, or even recognise what healthy boundaries look like if our primary caregivers didn’t model for us in a healthy way what that might look like.
Therefore, you may have relationships where you feel incredibly uncomfortable saying no and avoid situations that you perceive as a confrontation.
Similarly, you may not recognise the needs of those around you and constantly expect them to fulfil your needs, irrespective of what might be going on for them.
When you believe in the value of respecting other people’s boundaries and your own, you can begin to find the process much easier to navigate without feeling so uncomfortable or guilty all of the time.
Often, we can assume that people will understand and respect our boundaries, but as I’m sure you have experienced at one time or another, people can push boundaries in order to get what they want with little consideration for how you feel.
We hope that people will extend the same level of consideration or compassion for us as we do for them. Unless we find a way to speak up and advocate for ourselves when needed, a caring nature can be exploited or mistaken for weakness.
If there is something that makes you feel uncomfortable or you’re not sure, that’s your instinct kicking in telling you that perhaps you need to think about setting a boundary.
Often, when we feel disregarded, imposed upon and start to feel resentful in our relationships, this can be a clear sign that somewhere along the line, a personal boundary has been violated.
We are naturally relational beings, therefore having happy, reciprocal relationships are essential to our emotional and mental wellbeing as we are evolutionarily designed to be in relation with others, our survival depends on it.
When you have good boundaries, it means that you can show up wholeheartedly in your relationships, and truly feel loved and connected.
I’m Lizandra Leigertwood, an experienced psychotherapist, relationship therapist and coach based in St. Albans, UK.
I help people to let go of unhelpful patterns of the past to become empowered and have healthy fulfilling relationships. Get in touch to book your free telephone consultation for 1:1 or couples coaching sessions.
Do you often struggle with setting boundaries and feel unheard or reluctant to speak up? Do you often feel stuck with where to start with setting boundaries or what this would even look like? Download my free guide 5 Steps to Setting Healthy Boundaries in Relationships.