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Three Tips for Maintining Them
And Why They Are Important
“Once you have a major success with assertiveness, you learn that it’s a much healthier path than being a doormat to the insensitive folks. You gain respect for yourself, have more time for your priorities, and develop authentic and healthier relationships.” ― Doreen Virtue
You can’t possibly ensure that your relationships are trustworthy and respectful unless clear personal boundaries are in place. It’s a way that others know your limits and dictate what their behaviour will be when they’re around you.
If you’re uncomfortable around some people because of the way they treat you, it could be a good time to rethink and reset your boundaries. Otherwise, you’ll be vulnerable and taken for granted. Your self-esteem will suffer and you face a danger of becoming a doormat to others.
When you’re faced with requests or treatment which you feel is disrespectful, it’s important that you immediately address what’s happening. Everyone has different personal boundary lines – made up of how you were raised and your environment – and there may be conflicts in relationships because of that.
It’s also important that you understand the personal boundaries set by others so you don’t overstep and make them feel uncomfortable. Preserving friendships and relationships with coworkers and others depends on you respecting the boundaries that others have set.
When people are making you uncomfortable, begin to set your boundaries by writing down some of the ways these people make you feel the way you do. After pinpointing the ways, attempt to analyze why the person is treating you that way – what the motivation for the action is.
Now, you begin to set your personal boundaries by deciding what action you’re going to take. Remember, you can simply say, “No,” to any request or situation which someone wants to put you in.
After the boundaries are in place, you may find it necessary to update them once in a while. As you grow in your self-esteem by setting boundaries, you’ll begin to feel more assured that you can challenge someone’s behaviour if a behaviour makes you uncomfortable.
You may need more time for yourself or your personal situation may have changed and you have more work or have become more involved in your child’s school. It may be necessary to take your boundary of saying, “No,” to a new level because of the time constraints you now experience.
Some people will be fully supportive of you newly set personal boundaries and others may have hurt feelings or express their frustration with you in other ways. Keep to your guns and tactfully and politely protect your boundaries.
Many relationships may fall to the wayside because of setting and enforcing personal boundaries, but the relationships that are important to you and which will survive the boundaries will grow better and stronger.
To start setting your boundaries straight, try these four things.
1. Know your limits.
Clearly define your intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual boundaries with strangers, work colleagues, friends, family, and intimate partners.
By creating this sort of template you have a benchmark to assess when someone may be overstepping your boundaries. Your boundary criteria will evolve over time, so be sure to continuously update your chart with your growing experience and resulting needs.
2. Be Assertive
Creating and stating boundaries is great, but it’s the follow-through that counts. The only way to truly alert others that your boundaries have been crossed is to be direct with them. Being assertive, particularly if you are unaccustomed to doing so, can be scary.
Be kind to yourself and start your assertiveness practice with small challenges, like with sales staff or waiters who bring the wrong thing.
3. Practice makes perfect.
When you first start acting assertively, if it is a departure from your habitual state, you may be afraid that others will perceive you as mean or rude. But affirming your boundaries means that you value yourself, your needs, and your feelings more than the thoughts and opinions of others. Being assertive does not mean that you are unkind, it only means that you are being fair and honest with them (and, thus, kind to them in the long run) while maintaining your peace, dignity, and self-respect.
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