Updated: Dec 22, 2022
The holiday season is in full swing. It brings much joy, travel, reunions, chaos, rest, fun, and peace. It also is a time that makes practicing personal boundaries difficult but a must to sustain healthy relationships with others and yourself.
What are personal boundaries? The University of Berkely defines it as limits and rules we set for ourselves within relationships. A person with healthy boundaries can say “no” to others when they want to, but they are also comfortable opening themselves up to intimacy and close relationships. You don’t need to have the same boundaries or comfort level as everyone (family, friends, and co-workers). This is a cardinal key especially for family members. Boundaries have different radiuses depending on the situation or person will help you maintain enough energy to care for yourself so you can focus on the relationships that are loving, respectful, trusting, and deserve the best version of you.
Why should we create boundaries? Creating boundaries is a really important area of self-care which allows you to have self-respect and self-trust. How? Healthy personal boundaries reduce feelings of stress, burn-out, resentment and anger. Creating and maintaining healthy boundaries also increases feelings of happiness, self-worth, and wellbeing. It helps you separate your own feelings from those of others and allow you to stop taking responsibility for how others feel.
How do you create personal boundaries for yourself?
One: Identify behaviors. The first part of creating boundaries is identifying which behaviors from others are acceptable and which cause distress. Just because everyone else has forgiven and forgot, doesn't mean you have too as well.
Two: A way to create a boundary is simply telling people ‘no’. This can feel so incredibly uncomfortable, awkward, and scary, but remember you do not owe anyone an explanation. Try to avoid overexplaining why you are saying no, tell the truth, and don't blame the individual for your reasons of setting boundaries.
Three: Have consequences. If there are not consequences, then there is no point in creating boundaries. The consequences need to be ones you will follow through with and understand that the dynamic of the relationship can change entirely, even up to the other person choosing to walk away. It is important to clearly communicate what the consequences of breaking your boundaries are as well.
Once you have set your boundaries, stay committed to them. Make no exceptions regardless of the pressure, what holiday it is, event/gathering, or who the individual is family/friend/co-worker. Once you make an exception, the unhealthy relationship will continue to be unhealthy, and you will continue to be emotionally unhealthy.
Ask yourself, is it worth it not staying committed your personal boundaries
Are you worth your personal boundaries?
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