Setting Boundaries When it Feels Hard

Due to events beyond our control, most people’s day-to-day life looks and feels quite different. As we navigate through change, it is essential to become mindful of your personal thoughts and feelings,as how others influence your behavior. 

Boundaries exist in different ways with different people. Yet, it is important to ask yourself “what belongs to me, and what belongs to other people?” 

Think of it this way…

You are feeling calm after a day of working from home, you feel like you kicked ass on your conference call. Your husband walks in extremely aggravated. His boss was hard to reason with today and his mood reflects it. It would be so easy to let the anger transfer to your feelings, to suddenly go from calmness to chaos. But does that anger belong to you? 

Your husband needs to feel and express that anger. He had an experience that brought those emotions out. Let him have his own feelings,it feels damn good to release them. But at the same time, allow yourself to keep yours, honor your experience and emotions. 

We do not need to pick up other people’s baggage. 

There are different types of boundaries; intellectual, emotional, spacial, sexual, material, time and relational. Our boundaries might look different with different people, in different environments and in different periods of time.

It might feel harder to create boundaries during social distancing, for example.

You might feel as if your living quarters doesn’t allow for “personal space” or that your loved ones are overbearing. You might feel that work is shifting in a way that creates strong emotions. Anger helps us set boundaries. If you feel angry, it is a strong indication a boundary is being violated.

When we create boundaries, we do not need to explain why we are placing them but we do need to share that they exist, and how they will be reinforced. 

If we do not honor ourselves, how can others?

When thinking about boundaries, ask yourself the following questions and think of 5-10 answers for each. 

  1. People may not _________ .
  2. I have the right to ask for__________.
  3. To protect my time and energy, it is ok to ___________.

Now, what are you going to do to set these particular boundaries?

How will you reinforce it?

During this unique period of time, we, as a human collective, are adjusting to a temporary new normal. With this, we are alternating our lifestyles and experimenting with new feelings, routines and behaviors. Boundaries are valuable now more than ever before. As we are adjusting our lifestyle to fit this period, we need to be intune with our own needs, and allow ourselves to hold what is ours and release what is not.

Remember… whatever your experience is, whatever your thoughts are, whatever your response is…it is valid.

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