Boundaries are important for us to have and understand. We don’t necessarily need a lot of rules in our lives. If we build up too many walls, we run the risk of isolating ourselves from people and opportunities. Keeping in mind that what you value is important to you and that is the reason you create boundaries. A friend that is always late when you value time, having a mother show up unannounced when a priority of yours is keeping a schedule, these are a few examples of boundary issues.
Clearly expressing boundaries needs to happen when a boundary that you hold has been crossed. When someone does something that infringes on you, emotionally or physically, it is not automatic that they know they had crossed a boundary. Most of us don’t know what other people’s boundaries are. Take a look at my blog last week as it explored the topic on creating principles and priorities. Knowing what you value in life will help you set healthier boundaries.
Here are a few tips to remember when you feel it is time to set a boundary due to events that are interfering with your principles:
- Creating a boundary when frustrated, mad, or angry is not the right time. Get your thoughts down on paper and decide what you would like to say from a place of love and peace after you’ve had some time to think. It can make all the difference.
- Make the request and let them know what act they are doing that is infringing on you. Then share with them the consequence if they choose not to comply with your request.
Here are a couple examples of things you could say once you’ve decided on a boundary:
- “The kids and I love it when you come to the house, that is why I am asking you to call before you come over so I can make sure it is a good time for us to have you. If you do not call the door will be locked if you show up unannounced.”
- “I know that you run late, at times, and I am looking forward to having lunch with you. Just know that if you are more than 15 minutes late, I will be leaving. I won’t be mad; I just won’t be waiting longer than that.”
Lastly, I want to talk on the topic of eliminating people from our lives, as this is not a way of creating boundaries. There are occasions when people are physically and mental harmful to you and in those cases removing yourself might be best. However, I do want to offer you a thought; what if those who cause the most frustration in you are really here to help you grow? Instead, try to ask yourself, “what can I learn from this relationship, how will listening to this person allow me to grow?”
The key to healthy boundaries is in the request and in the follow through. When you follow through with what you find to be important you are showing respect to yourself and respect to others through your communications. If creating boundaries is new to you, realize that creating boundaries now could be challenging or they could be liberating…the choice is yours.