How to Set Healthy Boundaries?
Have you ever felt uncomfortable and had a feeling that you were being pushed while interacting with someone? Most likely, the person has violated a boundary that you considered sacred.
As a practicing therapist, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of establishing healthy boundaries in our journey of inner growth and healing. Yet this remains one of the areas that is grossly misunderstood and judged.
What are Healthy Boundaries?
Healthy boundaries are a set of rules or guidelines that we set for ourselves, defining how we behave with others, respond to situations, and consequently a directive of how we expect others to treat us. Self-honesty and awareness are the two main pillars on which healthy boundaries are created. They are essential in identifying and practicing personal integrity.
Healthy boundaries usually have these characteristics:
1. The limits set are clear and reasonable.
2. Boundaries are based on your needs as well as the needs of others.
3. It comes from the intention of being authentic.
4. Boundaries are not based on other’s approval or from the feeling of being a victim.
5. Healthy limits help channelize any anger or frustration into positive action rather than aggressive behavior or a shutdown.
6. Boundaries are not based on fear, guilt, or shame.
7. The boundaries are based on what reality is, and not on expectations of what it should be like.
Common Myths about Boundaries
The most common myth is that setting boundaries means being selfish or narcissistic! On the contrary, setting boundaries mean proving role and identity clarity for ourselves and others.
‘Setting boundaries make us lonely, unwanted, and isolated’ – another myth and this comes from a deep fear of rejection and validation. Boundaries actually help us overcome this fear – they provide a safe haven to experiment, heal and integrate lost parts of our own selves.
Benefits of Establishing Healthy Boundaries
Healthy boundaries are certainly a very important ingredient for self-care and self-compassion. They help protect our sense of self and identity. They keep us safe and relaxed, both emotionally and physically.
Boundaries also develop into a subtle yet firm way of speaking our truth – it builds self-confidence and empowers our inner being.
Top Tips for Setting Healthy Boundaries
– Take Baby Steps: If you are making a start, start small. Choose easier and small goals – achieve setting and practicing the boundaries and then move on to the more challenging ones. Build on your small successes, rather than trying to prove a point.
– Set an Intention & Follow Through: Don’t beat around the bush, be direct – define your boundaries, write them down if required. Be crystal clear of your intention before you begin.
– Speak Up: Communicate and communicate more – speaking out loud helps others but also brings clarity to you. Choose to be assertive.
– Be Mindful: Honor other people’s boundaries. Be self-aware and build awareness of others’ boundaries
– Seek Professional Help: Contact a trusted mental health practitioner and let the professional assist you in your journey.
Boundaries are not a cue for healthy relationships; they are the foundation for self-love and self-respect. So, give yourself permission to set boundaries and hold them in high regard for yourself.
If you want to learn the skills of mindful parenting, it is advisable to seek professional help. Illuminations offers several workshops including the Foundation of Holistic Parenting by Arpita Mitra Gupta. You can also book a free consultation with Arpita by clicking here.
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Arpita Mitra Gupta
Holistic Therapist & Corporate Wellness Facilitator
Arpita Mitra Gupta is a Holistic Therapist and Corporate Wellness Facilitator at Illuminations. In her private consultations, Arpita focuses on healing through Integrated Hypnotherapy, Transpersonal Regression Therapy, Family Constellations & Metaphor Therapy, empowering her clients to take full responsibility for their lives.