Guest Blog Post by Katie Bailey
Do you often feel like everything is your fault?
Or wonder why you do everything for everyone else all the time?
Do you hold back saying what you really want because you don’t want to upset someone else?
If you said yes to any of these, read on to learn how to set better emotional boundaries.
Why Healthy Boundaries Matter in Your Relationships
Relational boundaries are tricky because we can’t see them. So, think about physical boundaries. The fence around your backyard tells you where your property begins and your neighbor’s ends. You don’t mow the grass in your neighbor’s yard, that’s not your responsibility. Maybe you really like daisies, and plant them all over your backyard. Your neighbor hates them. You don’t have to cut down all your flowers to make your neighbor happy.
Emotional boundaries also tell us where we begin and end, and what is our responsibility and what’s not.
Signs of weak emotional boundaries in relationships include:
- You most often say yes when you want to say no, because you’d feel guilty.
- You don’t stand up for yourself when you are treated badly.
- Going against your personal values in order to please others.
- You expect another person to fill all your needs, to the exclusion of other friendships.
- Giving more than you are really able to do, because you feel guilty.
- You don’t take responsibility for your own behavior, you blame others.
Setting healthy boundaries in your relationships leads to more self confidence and a more positive view of yourself. You will feel more in charge of your life, and therefore feel less controlled by others. You will also care for others better as well.
How do you get healthy boundaries?
Ok, so hopefully by now you believe that healthy boundaries are important. But how do you start setting better boundaries? Here are a few tips:
Believe that you have a right to personal boundaries
Your thoughts, feelings and opinions matter. Other people can’t read your mind. You have to take responsibility and communicate clearly what you will and won’t accept in your relationships.
Think about what relationship behaviors you find unacceptable
Does it bother you to share clothes with your roommate? Are you okay with being the one in your house to do the dishes every night? Would you prefer your partner asks you to approve a photo before they post it online? Are you okay with people yelling and swearing at you?
Respect other people’s boundaries
Boundaries go both ways. Be a good listener and respect what the other people in your life ask as well. If you want them to respect your limits, you have to respect theirs as well.
You can learn
Just like with our property lines around our yards, emotional boundaries make clear for us what is or is not our job. If you think you need help setting better boundaries, counseling can help you. An experienced therapist can help you identify where you are letting others take control of your life and how to take steps to regain control. Learn how to start making decisions for yourself, not just to please those around you. Having a greater sense of control will lower anxiety and increase your enjoyment of life again!
Help Setting Boundaries in Columbia, MO
It’s scary to make changes in your relationships. Maybe you also struggle with self confidence and it’s hard to imagine standing firm with people. Or perhaps you’re worried you’ll come across as mean if you begin saying no to things you used to say “yes” to. Many people need extra support as they start changing their limits and how they interact with others. Luckily, counseling can help. The caring therapists at Aspire Counseling can help you clarify your goals, increase your self confidence and begin interacting with others in a new way. Aspire Counseling is a counseling clinic committed to bringing true evidence based counseling to people in the Mid Missouri area. Contact Aspire Counseling today to set up an intake counseling appointment.
About the Guest Author
Katie Bailey, MA, LPC is a Pennsylvania counselor and the owner of Lime Tree Counseling, LLC in Ambler, PA. She provides specialized therapy services for PTSD & Trauma Counseling, Anxiety Therapy, and Marriage Counseling. Katie offers online counseling as part of her mental health practice throughout the state.