Relationships are partnerships, and it’s important for both people to understand what the other values most in that relationship. Boundaries may be flexible, but how they change should come from within you and not from others’ influence and pressure. If you let others cross the line too many times, you’ll feel drained, taken advantage of, and disrespected.
This is why it’s important that you set clear boundaries from the start, and keep on reinforcing them.
Understand Why Boundaries Are Necessary
Think of boundaries as a safety net. It’s like a wall that you build around your values, standards, needs, and desires, so that those who can’t respect them stay outside your walls.
Boundaries set the basic guidelines of how you want to be treated.
Understand Why You Can’t Hold Them
There are many reasons why you can’t hold onto your boundaries. Most of the time you don’t even realize it’s happening as you let someone slowly push them until they cross the line.
When they did cross it you might have even just allowed it and betrayed your own boundaries.
Strong Boundaries Are Based On Not Caring About The Outcomes
When you have strong boundaries, you don’t care how they affect other people because you prioritize why you need them in the first place.
You’re not afraid of others getting hurt or arguing with you because they don’t want to pressure you into changing your mind or pushing your boundaries.
You Can’t Put Other Needs First
When you let others cross your boundaries, what you’re really doing is putting their needs above your own.
For example, think about when you pick up a friend’s phone call when you already know you were about to fall asleep and need the rest. You think you’re being a good friend, but you’re failing to respect your needs in order to serve someone else’s.
You Can’t Risk Being A People Pleaser
Someone who can’t respect their own boundaries is often a people pleaser. They’re the kind of person who doesn’t know how or when to say no because they worry that they’ll disappoint others.
Keep in mind that people-pleasers often act out of their insecurities and lack of self-esteem.
People With Weak Boundaries Are Like Chameleons
People with weak boundaries worry so much about other people’s feelings and reactions that they’re constantly molding their own behavior to fit what they think is being asked.
They could end up losing themselves by trying to change themselves into the never-ending expectations they try to attain.
A Person Without Boundaries Is Toxic
To put it simply, someone who doesn’t set boundaries is unlikely to have healthy relationships.
Connecting with them can seem easy and instantaneous because all they want to is make you happy. However, the overconsuming intensity also knows no boundaries. They don’t know when to stop.
Empaths Struggle With Boundaries The Most
Some of the people who struggle the most with boundaries are empaths.
They can see and understand others’ needs so intensely that they feel as though it’s their mission to help, even at their own expense.
You Shouldn’t Prioritize Other’s Perception
Another reason boundaries are harder for some people is that those people require validation and acceptance from others to accept themselves.
They prioritize how others perceive them. They fear that if they stick to their boundaries that people will resent them, be upset with them, or abandon them.
You Can’t Control Others
On the other hand, those with strong boundaries understand that they might hurt someone’s feelings sometimes, but they don’t feel responsible for how others feel.
A healthy relationship means understanding that you can’t control other’s emotions and reactions, so you can only stick to yours.
Boundaries Are The First Step To Communication
Boundaries are essential for effective communication. You need to be able to express what you need in order for it to be respected.
Your partner needs you to tell them what is and isn’t acceptable so that they understand how to treat you and respect you.
You’re Already Doing It All The Time Anyway
Even if you think you’re bad at setting boundaries, the truth is you set them all the time. In fact, the world runs on mutually understood boundaries. Many of them are simply unspoken.
For example, you know to leave a certain amount of space between yourself and the person in front of you at the grocery store. Or you know that you won’t get the job if you’re late for the interview.
To Do It With Others, You Need To Do It With Yourself
You can’t set healthy boundaries with others unless you set them with yourself first. You can start small and then build your way up.
Make agreements with yourself, such as waking up earlier so that you have time to journal first or saying no to hangouts more than once a week. You’ll quickly learn what you can handle and feel more comfortable sticking to it for your own well-being.
You’re Risking Extreme Fatigue And Anxiety
The risk you take when you always put other’s boundaries before your own is your own health. Everyone has limits. People will be able to spot your nonexistent boundaries and take advantage of them until you’re drained.
You’ll feel anxious juggling everyone else and won’t know how to prioritize who you set boundaries for and how.
You’ll Resort To Passive-Aggressive Behavior
When a person without boundaries starts to feel overwhelmed and anxious, they can bottle it all in. They worry that showing how they really feel will get a negative reaction.
Instead, they engage in passive-aggressive behavior out of frustration and helplessness, which has even worse consequences.
Boundaries Ensure Balance
Boundaries allow the right balance between independence and social interaction, such as having friendships outside of a romantic relationship.
One Reddit user described it as “Having a life outside of your relationship. Like not spending all your free time with your SO and neglecting your friends & family. Not having them read your texts from your family & friends. Not get offended when they do the same.”
The Right People Will Stick Around
When you finally create strong boundaries, you might end up losing some of the people you care about. This is just a necessary part of the process. It shows that those people were just using you and left when they realized that they couldn’t anymore.
Continue to be assertive and you’ll keep and attract the people who will treat you right.
Recgonize The Line Where You Feel Stressed Or Uncomfortable
Consider what you can tolerate and accept in comparison to what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed.
Not everyone has the same boundaries, but if you’re in tune with your feelings, they will make you aware as soon as you’re about to cross the line.
Give Yourself Permission
Give yourself permission to say no. To say ‘this is enough.’ To disappoint others. To put yourself first. To risk losing someone.
Don’t feel constrained by fear, guilt, and self-doubt. Boundaries aren’t just a sign of a healthy relationship, but of self-respect. So give yourself the permission to set those boundaries and to preserve them.
Remember: Fear Is The Enemy
Even if the worst happens and your boundaries get you into arguments and disagreements, remember that it doesn’t mean that this person will hate you or leave you.
There are ways to still fight and disagree about your boundaries as long as you set boundaries for those interactions too.