Today I wanted to talk about the importance of setting boundaries.
As Dr Phil would say – ‘We teach people how to treat us’.
One way we can get people to treat us respectfully is by setting boundaries.
Having boundaries in life is important. While the concept at first glance may seem restrictive, the fact is having boundaries is quite the opposite. It allows us to have more freedom.
It paves the way for less conflict.
Knowing our own boundaries and the boundaries of those closest to us help us in our everyday lives.
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Families without healthy boundaries often tend to be in a state of continual chaos. This sort of family dynamic may make for funny television sitcoms but in reality, they are frustrating and draining on your energy.
Having boundaries involves showing respect for other people and being respected in return.
I will give you an example.
I have a friend, a dear friend I might add, who comes over to my house for a one-on-one catch-up.
Often, however, she ends up calling someone on her mobile phone and talking to them while she is here, completely ignoring me. We’re not talking a quick 5-minute chat here. We’re talking for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, I would sit and wait for her to finish.
Last week, however, I called her on it.
Firstly I identified my boundary. You will generally know when a boundary needs to be set by a nagging feeling inside of you that you are not being treated as you should be.
In my case, as she has done this to me on several occasions, I was quite upset. After she got off the phone, I made it clear that coming over and spending the evening speaking on her mobile to someone else was rude and unacceptable.
Effectively I set a boundary.
Being clear on the boundary itself is important. We cannot expect people to respect our boundaries if they are not sure what they are. Don’t expect them to have a crystal ball and read your mind.
Being angry for an hour and hoping they notice and realize why won’t work either.
Be specific about what it is you want. Convey your needs in a calm and polite way. Yelling won’t do you any favors. It will simply make things worse.
Consistency is important when it comes to boundaries. If you are inconsistent with your message, people will be unsure how to treat you going forward.
Understand the importance of setting boundaries. Start setting boundaries in your relationships and watch the quality of those relationships improve.
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