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5 Must Have Boundaries in Order to Have Good Health and Relationships

I have a client who has left her verbally and emotionally abusive husband. Sadly, as a Certified Counselor, I see way too much of that.

In a recent session, this client shared with me that she had to engage in some conversation with her ex, who began to behave in demeaning, critical and attacking ways.

She responded to the matter at hand only and then added, and “you may not speak to me that way.”

Essentially, she set a boundary.

Boundaries say in specific terms, here’s what is ok, and here is what is not ok.

Boundaries might also say, “I’m willing to do this, and I am not willing to do that.”

My client shared she felt nervous at first, and then felt great setting that boundary.

I hear this often from clients who are beginning to both understand the significance of boundaries and when to use them.

We cannot enjoy great physical, emotional or mental health without boundaries.

They are crucial to our health, wellbeing and our ability to thrive.

It is also important to know that boundaries are never something we ask permission. If we ask permission we are no longer setting a boundary; therefore setting boundaries requires ownership. You must have clarity what you are willing to say yes to and what you need to say no to.

Here’s the 5 Big Boundaries to keep in mind to enjoy good health.

Ø YOUR PHYSICAL BOUNDARIES – This boundary is about who gets to be in your presence, (are they safe?) and who gets to get very close to you. Who can touch you and how? This is a great boundary to also teach our children when they are young. Questions to ask yourself, do I feel safe around this person? Do I want displays of affection from this person? Am I comfortable with this person in my presence?

Ø YOUR MENTAL/ EMOTIONAL BOUNDARIES- This is about feeling emotionally/ mentally safe around someone. The questions to ponder, when I am in the presence of this person, ( whoever it may be- partner, spouse, boss, neighbor, friend etc.) do I feel concerned I am going to be verbally attacked, dismissed, minimized, devalued, or criticized? Is this person able to honor me even when we disagree?

Ø YOUR RELATIONSHIP BOUNDARIES- Questions to ask yourself- does this relationship feel mutually respectful? Does my partner honor what I need to the best of their ability? Are we able to talk about the issues without things becoming heated or accusatory? Is my “no” or “not now” accepted when I set a boundary? Do I feel comfortable sharing with a partner, friend, child, or other that I will need to say no to a request when I recognize I don’t have the capacity to add in one more thing or responsibility?

Ø YOUR WORK BOUNDARIES- Whether you work for yourself or someone else, boundaries are imperative. Do you have set work hours that you generally adhere to? If self employed, is there a time of day you shut it down both physically and mentally so you can rejuvenate or be present with your loved ones? Are you able to tell your boss when you cannot do overtime? Are you able to share with your team, what is really going on, and what you truly can do in order to give your best?

Ø YOUR SPIRITUAL BOUNDARIES- Are you able to hold tight to your own beliefs and not abandon your beliefs, faith or practices because someone else does not agree or like them? Are you able to pursue freely the spiritual practices that are most meaningful to you whether that is reading, praying, meditating, attending a church, mosque or other religious service? Are you sacrificing what you want or need spiritually to please someone else at your own expense?

When we have good boundaries in all of these areas, we are more likely to experience more joy, less stress and fatigue, and our relationships benefit as well. People know where we stand when we show up with clear and consistent boundaries.

While it’s true many people do not set good or consistent boundaries because they fear someone will be mad at them, I would offer that though this could happen, only you can determine if you being robbed of good health, joy and acting in a manner which is destructive to your own health is worth it.

If you realize you want to set boundaries and find it difficult to do so, you might enlist the help of a good boundary setting friend, a life coach or a counselor to assist you!

Life is short. Boundaries make it better.

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