Setting boundaries can seem like an intimidating task especially if you are used to putting your own well-being in the backseat of your life. Without personal boundaries you might feel as though you are overwhelmed by the needs of others and unable to prioritize what you need. This may result in feeling anxiety, guilt, shame, depression, or an unrealistic amount of responsibility for the person or problems.
Since boundaries can seem like a big scary monster that is hard to tackle, we will walk through practical tips when setting boundaries. These tips will give you a realistic outline when trying to figure out what is best for YOU.
Self-Reflect and Gain Perspective
A good starting point is finding a place of self-reflection. This may be uncomfortable for you at the beginning, but it is a great way of identifying areas of your life where boundaries may be beneficial. Spend some time alone evaluating the areas in your life where you feel drained or your needs aren’t getting met. Understand what is happening within you.
Once you spend time gaining perspective it will give you a good idea of where you need to start. For example, let’s say after self-reflection you identify that your relationship with your mother is draining any possible free time you have for yourself. You would then be able to start thinking of boundaries you can set in order to gain back some of your freedom.
Once you are ready to start setting boundaries, it is important to be realistic at the beginning. You don’t want to set too many boundaries where you are unable to uphold them or there are too many changes at one time. It is okay to start small and work your way to bigger boundaries as you become more confident. Sticking with the mom scenario, that might mean only answering one phone call a day from her instead of the five times she usually calls to just talk.
Being consistent is vital because it shows an individual and yourself that you are serious about upholding the boundaries that you set. Being consistent also helps you and others learn a new way to function in your relationship. You are teaching yourself and them that you are worthy and that your time and emotions are valuable and need to be cared for.
Set boundaries face to face
If possible, set boundaries in person with someone. This can give you space and time to say what you need to say without distractions. This also allows everyone involved to read body language and facial expressions. When you call or text it is hard to understand or interpret all types of communication. Face to face conversations leave less room for misunderstandings and shows them you value the relationship.
Find an accountability partner
Lastly, find someone in your life that will hold you accountable to your boundaries. This could be a friend, family member, or a counselor. This person can be anyone who knows the situation and is able to be honest and direct with you.
If you found this helpful and want to move forward to heal and explore what your best next steps are then we are here for you. At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk with you through the pain and help you heal and make sense of what to do next. You don’t need to walk this path alone because we are here to help. You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseilng.org to learn more about how we can best help you.