What are Boundaries?
Relationships require boundaries. What are boundaries? Boundaries help us discern what we are willing to accept and not accept from another person, when in relationship with them.
The following is a list of boundary statements:
When we ask the question, “what are boundaries?” there are 9 statements we can use to help us maintain healthy boundaries in our relationships.
- You act on feelings when you need to. (“I’m uncomfortable giving you an answer today, I’ll let you know tomorrow.”) You consider what you need, even though it may not suit the other.
- You can say no when you want to without experiencing tidal waves of guilt or feeling you are in the wrong for not doing as the other wants.
- You generally do precisely as you want to rather than depending on the suggestions of others. You generally know what you like and what you don’t like.
- You no longer blame yourself for everything that goes wrong in a relationship or friendships.
- You no longer feel responsible for making a relationship work or making another person happy.
- You don’t take things so personally. If a friend is inconsiderate or says something unkind, you know the action may come from that person’s history, not from something lacking in you.
- You are able to have a different opinion than a friend and yet are able to maintain the friendship.
- You realise you are not responsible for the actions of others.
- You are comfortable with receiving as well as giving.
What are boundaries? Some helpful phrases to memorise in order to set boundaries in relationships:
- No, thank-you.
- I’m not sure, I’ll get back to you on that.
- Thanks, but I have a previous commitment.
- I’d rather not go into that right now.
- I hear what you are saying and I see it a little differently.
- I felt______when you (did, said)____. Next time I would prefer______.
Boundaries lead to healthy relationships.
Knowing what you are willing to accept and not accept is a step in the right direction to begin setting boundaries for yourself in relationships. Setting boundaries may not come easy to you and you may find yourself racked with guilt or feeling like you are doing something wrong when you are setting a boundary.
Issues around abandonment, self-worth and self-doubt may arise and stop you from setting healthy boundaries for yourself in relationships. If this is the case for you, you may wish to seek support and guidance. Gestalt therapy can help build awareness around how you stop yourself from putting your needs as a priority. Assisting you to understand where the feelings of guilt, self doubt or selfishness arise from and how you can work with these uncomfortable feelings whilst honoring your needs in relationship with others.
Help is available for the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers to develop boundaries in relationships.
Call Sarah @ Counselling on the Coast on 0422 620 151
(Pottsville, Cabarita, Kingscliff, Tweed Heads, Palm Beach, Burleigh Heads)