Fences represent healthy boundaries.

How to Set Healthy Boundaries 

We all fall into communication patterns, and sometimes these patterns lack healthy boundaries. For a relationship to thrive, both parties need to be clear about themselves; who they are, what they value, and their limits. Living without personal boundaries can be destructive.

If someone in your life does not respect your space and pushes you to bend to whatever they want or need, they are not respecting your limits. They are insisting their life wishes are more important than your own.

Establishing and maintaining boundaries takes practice. In order to learn this skill, support and guidance is needed. Reach out to a personal counselor to learn about your own limits and how to establish them.

Prioritize Your Own Self-Care

In order to learn how to take care of yourself, it is important to understand the benefits of prioritizing your own feelings and interests. When setting boundaries, an individual has to learn their own limits. What they can accept and what causes them emotional and mental discomfort, causing stress.

Feelings of resentment can build when boundaries are crossed. Resentment is a reaction to not feeling appreciated. For example, if a person in your family is pushing their own expectations on you, it can lead to anxiety and guilt.

Healthy boundaries are about self-respect. As an adult, you can say no to a family member. You can speak up if you are feeling taken advantaged of and emotionally drained.

Past Lessons May Not Have Taught Healthy Boundaries

If an individual does not learn the importance of boundaries and self-care in their family, ignoring individual needs may happen without the person even considering how harmful the behavior is for their own mental health.

Standing up for yourself and being assertive does not have to be a negative experience. With respect, you can share your boundaries with others. Then, provided the other person is open to a discussion, you can work together to address the issue.

Of course, a new form of communication takes practice. Start small, in a manner that is comfortable for you. A person could begin on their own, without involving others. Start dreaming and journal about what you want your life to be. Too often a lack of boundaries means a loss of oneself. Knowing yourself can lead to self-care.

Setting healthy boundaries is essential for good mental health. When people lack boundaries, they can suffer from ongoing anxiety, guilt, and fear. It is impossible to pursue your own dreams when you are always seeking the approval of others.

For some, not having boundaries is linked to feelings of being abandoned or rejected in childhood. Then, in adulthood, the person may falsely believe putting the needs of others first will lead to acceptance and love. Yet, in truth, boundary-less relationships have many difficulties. Without healthy boundaries, a person can feel lonely, the opposite of what they crave.

Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.

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Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M. Licensed Psychotherapist (Retired)

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