How Can I Set Boundaries Without Offending Others?
What are boundaries and why are they important in your healing journey?
In geography, a boundary is a line that divides two areas from one another. It describes the limit of an area or place.
When it comes to your life, boundaries set a clear definition of who you are and how you want others to treat you.
You can imagine boundaries as some kind of invisible blanket or bubble that envelops your entire being — mental, emotional, and physical. It is like a shield or barrier that will protect your identity and self-esteem.
When you are on a healing journey, personal boundaries will make you understand yourself better. It will help you discover who you really are without the false and negative comments from other people. You will understand what you need to heal and what you do not want to receive from other people.
Setting healthy boundaries means you are prioritizing your self-worth and self-respect. This is the first step to healing yourself from your past traumas. Setting personal boundaries is like setting how you see yourself and how you want others to see you. You are setting the standard to which you will be treated by other people.
Personal boundaries will let you stand up to get what you need, especially when there are people who will give their unsolicited advice as you begin your healing process.
As you go through your healing journey, you will surely meet people who will dictate how you go through the process. You will meet people who will judge your decisions and choices. Some will distract you and will take advantage of your vulnerability.
Having personal boundaries will change your way of life, how you see the world and how you can seize every opportunity to make yourself better and stronger.
Internal and External Boundaries
Internal boundaries and external boundaries are the two types of boundaries you need to know and understand.
External boundaries refer to the limits you set concerning the treatment you get from other people. These are boundaries that separate you from your peers, family members, friends, co-workers, and others.
You need external boundaries to establish how you want to be treated by the people around you.
Sometimes, in our desire to be accepted we let other people invade our space to the point that the lines separating us from them get blurred and crossed.
External boundaries help you reiterate that line so you will not get lost in recognizing your need separate from that of other people.
There are five different types of external boundaries that you can set so you can have lasting relationships with others.
First is the physical boundaries you can set to establish your own personal space and communicate your need for privacy.
Physical boundaries will help you set an invisible line based on your preferences when it comes to your physical self. It protects you from physical abuse or being subjected to uncomfortable situations.
It is important to remember that you understand that everyone is entitled to physical boundaries and when you want your boundaries to be respected, you need to respect others too.
Another type of external boundary is the mental boundary. Mental boundaries talk about what information you want to reside in your mind.
It is your prerogative to retain the things you want to retain like opinions from other people, comments about yourself, or news about what’s happening in the world. In the same way, you can choose not to share all your thoughts and opinions with others so you can protect your mental space.
Setting mental boundaries will make it easier for you to walk away when your mental health gets attacked.
The third external boundary is the material boundary which means that it depends solely on you what to do with your properties and belongings.
Sometimes, when people are especially close to us, we were expected to share our things with them. It is like an assumption for friends and family to pry into this aspect of our life.
But setting material boundaries will let you choose what you can share with others and what you can keep to yourself.
Another type is the emotional boundaries which set the limits for yourself concerning your emotional health and stability.
Setting emotional boundaries will help you realize that your emotions are your sole responsibility. No one can dictate how you should feel about things. No one can dictate how you will feel about yourself.
Emotional boundaries will help protect you from people who liked to make you feel guilty so they can take advantage of your kindness.
Lastly, spiritual boundaries address your spiritual well-being.
It is not a secret that some people will try to influence you with their beliefs, sometimes insulting your own religious affiliations and questioning the things you believe in.
Setting spiritual boundaries will make you see that you are entitled to believe in your own ideology and that no one can push you to believe anything you do not want in the same way that you do not push your beliefs on other people.
Internal boundaries are the limits you set for yourself. These boundaries assess the relationship you have with your own self.
How do you treat yourself?
Do you have mental and emotional regulation?
How do you treat yourself? Your physical health?
Setting internal boundaries will help address your needs and make sure that you are not mistreating yourself by neglecting the important aspects of your life.
With internal boundaries, you establish how you make yourself better and live the life you want as you achieve your dreams.
Internal boundaries are crucial in your journey of making yourself better, finding true healing, prioritizing your self-care, and strengthening your crumbling self-confidence.
When you start setting internal boundaries you start looking at yourself more. You start addressing the things you have been neglecting about yourself during the time that you are in pain and suffering.
Setting healthy personal boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries is a lifestyle that will help you have authentic relationships and a healthier environment.
It is important to understand that personal boundaries need to be good and healthy because some people may have set boundaries that can harm them and the people around them.
Personal boundaries vary among individuals and are susceptible to changes.
We have learned about boundaries and how they can help you step into your power. Here are some of the characteristics that make up healthy personal boundaries:
Your boundaries should be made to value your needs and limits. This means that the boundaries you set for yourself benefit you and not other people. Your boundaries are set for your well-being, and for your benefit. These are not made so you can accommodate the whims and needs of other people. That is not how personal boundaries work.
Healthy personal boundaries allow you to say “no” and accept when people also refuse you. Setting your limits will help you to stop always saying YES even when you are uncomfortable. Healthy boundaries will make you see that as much as you have the right to refuse people, others also have this right.
Another characteristic of healthy boundaries is knowing what you need and what you want. Knowing who you are is the key to setting personal boundaries that will address all your needs and wants.
Healthy boundaries will also help you establish your self-concept and self-worth. With healthy boundaries, you can see your true value uninfluenced by people’s unnecessary opinions.
Healthy boundaries should be built with respect to your rights and the rights of others. When your boundaries are right, you will understand that everyone has equal rights despite their differences in personalities. You will realize that everyone’s needs and feelings are equally equal and should be respected.
Healthy boundaries will help you acknowledge the opinions and beliefs of other people without having to give up your own principles.
In conclusion, healthy boundaries will help you. You set healthy boundaries for your own good. But this does not mean that you will neglect the boundaries of other people so you can strengthen yours.
The effectiveness of any type of boundary is in the way we respect and acknowledge each other’s boundaries.
Moreover, healthy boundaries will take time and determination to establish and maintain.
How to set good healthy boundaries and actually maintain them
- Admitting that your lack of boundaries stems from your lack of self-esteem. It will be hard to accept for yourself that you are someone who has little self-esteem. But admitting that you lack confidence in yourself is the first step to assessing and setting up personal boundaries.
Setting personal boundaries would need courage and confidence. You need to develop your self-esteem so you can set proper limitations that will not waver when faced with intrusions and challenges.
Understand that personal boundaries can only be strong when you are confident with yourself and have high self-esteem.
- Distinguish what your core values are. Decide who you are and who you want to be as well as your priorities. You cannot tell others what your limitations are, or how you want to be treated when you don’t know for yourself what matters to you. People will see you the way you see yourself, they will value what you value.
- Remember that having personal boundaries is your right. Everyone has the right to set their boundaries. Because of our nature that longs to please all the people around us, we have this notion that we do not deserve it or we do not have the right to set boundaries.
You need to eradicate the wrong assumption that some people are allowed to have boundaries and some are not. In fact, having personal boundaries is a fundamental right of every individual.
More than it is your right, it is also your responsibility to set personal boundaries.
- Realize that your thoughts, needs, and feelings are equally important to others. We lived in a world that is obsessed with hierarchy and social status we somehow got it instilled in our minds that such things correspond to someone’s importance.
For some, the higher your status the more important you are and the more others would listen to you, the more they would acknowledge your needs and feelings.
But this is wrong. Our thoughts, needs, and feelings know no social status or hierarchy. No one can say that someone’s needs are more important than yours. You have to stop thinking that you are less worthy than others or that you are less important. Such thinking is the reason why you let yourself be treated badly and wrongly.
You need to learn to see yourself as equal and at par with others. When others say or make you feel that you are less than anyone, show them that you disagree and do not believe their words.
- Explore and understand your needs. When you have been living to please others or to cater to their demands at your expense, it is likely that you do not have enough knowledge of your own needs. You have been ignoring them and this is unhealthy.
You need to start understanding yourself more than ever. You can start a journal where you can write your thoughts and feelings, your needs, wants, and desires. To be more in tune with your inner being and understand your needs, you can practice self-reflection and introspection.
Discover more of yourself and make a habit of having or spending alone time. Understanding and exploring your needs are the foundations of strong personal boundaries.
- Do not wait for others to change, start with you. It is futile to change others. If you are waiting for others to change the way they treat you, you need to stop. Such waiting is futile and fruitless. There is no assurance that they would change and you would only get depressed as you continue to tolerate their invasion and intrusion.
Subsequently, you cannot force them to change while you remain the same. If you want to see changes for the better, start with yourself. Change your disposition and your actions. You cannot tell them to treat you fairly when you do nothing about it yourself.
- Think about the future consequences. The best way to figure out your own boundaries and consequences when people cross them is to sit quietly down with yourself and make this all about you. Remember: Boundaries are about honoring your needs, not judging other people’s choices.
- Strengthen your inner boundaries. Work within yourself, and strengthen your internal boundaries and this will transcend to the outside.
You need to understand that boundaries work two-way. You should set limitations for yourself because that is the foundation of the limitations you will communicate to other people. Your internal boundaries are the things that you set for yourself to take or tolerate.
When you are safe internally, and sure about your inner self, people will notice the aura around you that speaks of how you wanted to be treated.
- Protect yourself from the negative energy of others. The state of your energy is very important when you create personal boundaries. It should not be tarnished by the negative energies of people around you or it will be tainted and it will look like your boundaries are unconsciously influenced by them. You understand your energies and how you can use your positive energy so the negative can be purged and purified.
- Tap divine protection to step into your power and protect yourself. You cannot do it alone. You cannot protect yourself alone. Tapping the Divine for protection and guidance will help you step into your power and ability to protect yourself fully. With your strengthened energy, you can raise your vibration so you can call upon the Universe to shroud you with divine security.
Prayer to Ask your Angels for Protection
Most powerful angels of God,
Please come to me and invoke your presence into my life.
Please help me set boundaries that will protect my health and my entire being.
Please help me find security and peace in knowing that no one can take advantage of me.
Please help me communicate my boundaries without hurting others.
Let my boundaries protect me as I journey toward true divine healing.