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Tune into your feelings

There are two key feelings that are red flags that you are letting go of your boundaries.

  • Discomfort. Ask yourself what is causing the discomfort.
  • Resentment. Resentment usually comes from being taken advantage of or not appreciated.

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Name your limits

You can’t set good boundaries if you’re unsure of where your limits are.

Identify what you can permit and accept and what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed.

With some people, maintaining healthy boundaries doesn’t require a direct and clear-cut dialogue.

There are other times you might need to be frank, such as with those who have a different personality or cultural background.

We might fear the other person’s response if we set and enforce our boundaries.

Boundaries aren’t just a sign of a healthy relationship; they’re a sign of self-respect. Give yourself permission to set boundaries.

If you notice yourself slipping and not sustaining your boundaries, ask yourself what's changed. Find out what you do have control over and what you are going to do about it.

Consider how you were raised along with your role in your family. These can become additional obstacles in setting and preserving boundaries.

Is there a healthy give and take with the people you surround yourself with?

Putting yourself first gives you the energy, peace of mind and positive outlook to be more present with others and be there for them. 

Seek support

If you’re having a hard time with boundaries, seek some support: a support group, church, counseling, coaching or good friends.

It’s important to communicate with the other person when they’ve crossed a boundary.

Let the other person know what in particular is bothersome to you. Do it respectfully and work together to address it.

Communicating your boundaries takes practice.

Start with a small boundary that isn’t threatening to you, and then incrementally increase to more challenging boundaries.

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RELATED IDEAS

  • Know that you have a right to personal boundaries.
  • Recognize that other people's needs and feelings are not more important than your own.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Identify the actions and behaviors that you find unacceptable.
  • Trust and believe in yourself.

1

IDEA

You can't change others

You are not responsible for what they say, their reactions or for the daily choices they make.

Since you can't change other people, change how you deal with them. They may be motivated to change if their old ways no longer work.

Our boundaries are shaped by

  • our heritage or culture
  • the region we live in or come from
  • whether we’re introverted, extroverted, or somewhere in between
  • our life experiences
  • our family dynamics
Boundaries are a deeply personal choice and vary from person to person. You can investigate and define your boundaries with self-reflection.