Setting boundaries – this is a rather controversial topic. Therefore, you are bound to hear contradicting opinions about it. In fact, according to specialists, this is a critical aspect for healthy relationships. Unfortunately, many people fail to acknowledge its importance and implement it. To be frank, the concept of building boundaries was foreign to me, as well – a while ago, at the very least. But, from my experience, having healthy boundaries clearly points that you know your limits, and you want to respect them.
In today’s post I want to share my knowledge on this subject – in short, the conclusions I’ve come to after years of struggling to build my self-esteem. In essence, self-esteem is imminently interlinked with setting personal boundaries, as this entails self-respect and self-worth.
Setting Boundaries Means That You Respect Yourself
I’ll start with pointing a sad, yet utter truth – that failing to set personal boundaries in your relationships mirrors that you have little self-esteem. Why is that? On a subconscious level, you don’t feel that you are worthy of getting what you actually deserve. You have become accustomed with letting other people make you feel guilty or manipulate you into making what they want.
But what is a boundary? In short, this is a metaphorical or physical line you establish between yourself and the people in your life. When you set a boundary, it imminently means that you expect and require better treatment from others, by not permitting them to run over you. In a way, boundaries facilitate a protective parameter, allowing us to build healthy, long-lasting relationships. Each person sets different boundaries, and personality plays an important role in this view.
Boundaries Are Principles to Abide By
In time, I came to realize that boundaries are synonymous with principles. And when you establish boundaries, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you distance yourself from other people. You simply choose to do what is right for you and your health and wellbeing.
For example, I used to approve to going to all sorts of events, because I feared that if I said otherwise, I would let other people down. See, that is because I yearned to be accepted by others, which was due to my low self-esteem.
There are many aspects that lead to a low self-esteem. But, without a doubt, the most common triggering signs of toxic relationships. If you are treated poorly by an important person in your life, such as a partner, parent, you will inevitably cope with low self-esteem and a general feeling of unworthiness.
Deciding What Your Values Are
It can be a real struggle to pinpoint your values. However, this doesn’t make it less important – quite the opposite, it is paramount. For instance, one of the core values for me, in a relationship, is honesty. This means I expect honesty at all times, regardless of the situation – whether we’re talking about something serious or not.
What I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t customize your boundaries depending on the persons in your life. But, instead, you ought to establish boundaries around your core values.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that setting boundaries entails attempting to change the people in your life. If we were 100 percent honest with ourselves, we would admit that we would love to change the people in our lives, wouldn’t we? But, the truth is that we cannot do that, as much as we’d like to. Still, this doesn’t mean that people cannot change, it simply means that we shouldn’t try to manipulate them into becoming what we want. It’s not right – I was caught into this trap myself.
However, I did realize that what I can do, instead, is change the way in which I interact with the people in my life. This was entirely up to me. And that’s exactly what I did. I learned how to clearly communicate. It’s absolutely useless to set boundaries if you don’t communicate them clearly – otherwise, all you’ll do is confuse the people in your life.
For instance, I cannot control the way in which other people speak to me, whether they patronize me or not. Nevertheless, I can control whether I will listen to them or not. In critical situations, I will make a statement such as I will listen to you when you will approach me in a respectful manner can be a good start, indicating that you don’t expect being treated poorly. Whether the other person rises to the occasion or not is entirely up to him or her. But this doesn’t mean that I am powerless and I have to accept any type of behavior.
To conclude, your inner personal space matters. You shouldn’t let people tell you otherwise. And when you acknowledge that your personal space matters, you set boundaries, which prevents aggressors from trying to manipulate you or making you feel inadequate or anything of the kind.