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Setting Healthy Boundaries



No matter who you come into contact with, you need to set boundaries. However, those boundaries need to be bidirectional. You can’t just expect others to come to grips with your boundaries, but you are free to cross theirs. When all people involved understand the boundaries, this is an example of a situation with healthy boundaries.

  1. Boundaries are not always about restrictions. Sometimes, you need to set boundaries that give yourself permission to do something. In this case, the boundaries are lifting the restrictions you place on yourself. You commit to not letting that happen.

  2. Whenever you set boundaries, make sure you stand firm when enforcing them. Otherwise, people won’t take them seriously. You may know someone who threatens to punish their kids, only to let them off the hook after a short period. This could also happen at work. A manager may make empty threats and employees simply ignore them because they know they are meaningless.

  3. If you create boundaries, realize they will take time for everyone to get used to them. However, you should remind them when they cross the boundaries. One way to handle this situation is to set up a jar that people have to put money in when they cross the boundaries.

  4. Make sure you compromise when setting boundaries. If you are setting up boundaries on other people but won’t yield your own, people are going to become discontent. You should not cross other peoples’ boundaries if you are expecting them to respect yours. It’s common sense.

  5. If the boundaries that you and the people around you aren’t working, consider changing them. However, don’t simply assume that they can be changed without discussing it with everyone involved. You will get pushback if you do. If everyone agrees, there is nothing wrong with making changes.

  6. Get buy-in from people who will be affected by setting boundaries. In fact, you should let them drive the process so that it is their idea. They will be less resistant to changes when the process occurs in this manner. Hold them accountable for the changes, however. Don’t let it become an exercise in futility.

  7. When setting boundaries, don’t set up a bunch of them all at once. Do them in stages and get a sense of how people are reacting to them. Setting boundaries requires change, and people resist change initially.



ACTIONABLE STEPS


  • Consider someone who has crossed your boundaries and confront them. If you have let it go for a long time because you didn’t want to make waves, it will be harder for you to do this. However, it’s not impossible. Muster up some courage and let them know what they were doing is not right. Do this anytime someone crosses your boundaries. The sooner you speak up, the better.


  • Find a situation in your life that is chaotic and figure out if it can become less so by setting boundaries. For instance, if people are doing whatever they want at work and there is no structure, set up a set of goals for the people on your team and hold them to it. The boundaries will contain what each person is responsible for.


  • Make a list of every situation you feel requires boundaries. Once you identify them, you can take the appropriate steps to implement those boundaries. Sometimes, discussing these boundaries can make you and those around you uncomfortable. This is especially true if there were no boundaries before and people acted as they saw fit. It will take some adjustments, but if those boundaries make sense, it will be good for everyone.


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