How do you set healthy boundaries with people without becoming isolated? This is an important question as empaths learn how to navigate a world full of individuals who have become used to sucking other’s energy instead of creating their own. If you want to become truly sovereign, learning when to give and when to protect your energy is imperative.
When it comes to boundaries we all know we need them. Depending on who you are, keeping healthy boundaries could be confusing, uncomfortable, or downright embarrassing.
Some people are so clear about what they want, their boundaries might as well be a typewritten list of rules of engagement or like China’s great wall. You’d have to be an army to break through them. These individuals might easily respond, “No thank you, I’m busy, and in the future, I’d prefer you ask me by email at least three weeks in advance.”
Others are so lacking in boundaries they barely notice how foolish they look trying so hard all the time and apologizing for every step they take. They constantly walk on eggshells and try to please everyone around them to get their needs met. “Oh, sure, I think I can make that work.” “Can’t someone closer pick it up? No? Okay.” “Oh, it’s okay, I used the extra thirty minutes to think about my order.”
Realistically it’s possible to be in extremes on either end. As with most things in life though, the middle path is the better way. We can’t be so very firm on our boundaries that we fail to extend ourselves in reciprocation and create the intimate relationships we need as human beings. Likewise, having no boundaries is a recipe for disaster, burnout, or a total meltdown.
For those who are learning to have healthy boundaries without becoming an island, it’s important to remember that every day, we set the tone of our relationships. Believe it or not, your needy friends aren’t needy with everyone. They’ve just learned to lean on you because you never say no.
Your time is just as important as anyone else’s.
To begin the journey toward healthy boundaries, you must first welcome the mindset that you matter as much as everyone else. We’re not talking about Not just your personal value as a nebulous affirmation, but in fact, your time truly is valuable, too. Not more than someone else’s but equally so.
No matter what you want to do with your spare time, volunteer, get your nails done, take a nap, or just take a leisurely drive, drive without multitasking, that is entirely your choice and right. No one else can carve this time out for you but you. When dealing with people who don’t value your time, So it may be necessary to let someone else volunteer to call everyone to set up lunch. It may mean that you don’t volunteer to be at every social event or run to the rescue of a friend who is constantly in crisis.
Any relationship that does not have a reciprocal exchange of energy in the form of time, attention, love, resources, etc. should be in question. While you shouldn’t be keeping an emotional balance of what someone has or hasn’t done for you, if you notice that the relationship is lopsided and that you are constantly expected to be there for someone, when they rarely extend the same courtesy, then it may be a sign that you aren’t respecting your own boundaries.
In a healthy family, these boundaries are put in place at a very young age. You learn that your thoughts, emotions, and feelings matter. This means that you also respect the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of other people.
If you grew up in a dysfunctional, codependent or alcoholic family you were instead taught that you were not enough and nothing you could ever do was going to be enough. You learned that your only job was to make others happy.
Healthy Boundaries in All Relationships
Whether it’s social boundaries, or boundaries in intimate relationships, or at work, it’s worthwhile to notice if you are doing things for the right reasons. Now that we have established what healthy boundaries they are and that you deserve to have them, let’s consider why it’s so hard to keep them in place. have them.
Firstly, if you are new at boundaries you might be used to avoiding conflict, hate awkward silence, or can’t watch anyone struggle even the slightest a little bit. Maybe you just have an extreme case of FOMO, fear of missing out. Guilt may also be an enemy of yours in the battle toward creating boundaries. Ilene Strauss Cohen Ph.D., a psychotherapist and teacher in the Department of Counseling at Barry University, says it perfectly when she describes the fallout from not honoring your boundaries in any situation – be it personal, romantic, or work-related.
When you are new at developing healthy having boundaries it’s very likely you will be a little messy with it. You might be trying to give yourself a pep-talk in your head and have only a few seconds to do it before it’s time to respond to a request or resist the urge to solve someone else’s problem.
There are those who will use your empathy to get what they want from you, without any concern for your well-being. There is no sense of reciprocity, and thus a healthy relationship is impossible, at least until they learn to honor themselves and others equally.
When you start to set healthy boundaries, you might have a tendency to just get busy explaining all the reasons why you can’t do something, often making people suspect that you aren’t being honest with them about why you don’t want to participate in a party, a family gathering, or the third conference call with a narcissistic boss. That’s o.k. People don’t need to know why you are saying no.
You may start out with so many boundaries you come across like the Berlin wall. It’s no doubt this will be a journey and you have to be patient with yourself. In time you will find a healthy middle ground where you don’t always need to say no, and you don’t feel the need to constantly explain yourself.
Healthy Emotional Habits
Having boundaries requires healthy habits. If you don’t have them yet, you likely have other less desirable habits which lead you away from the goal of healthy boundaries. Saying sorry too much, giving in after initially saying no, offering help without even being asked, and the list goes on.
According to a prominent medical journal in Canada, “ Most successful habit change requires the coordination of multiple strategies to establish a single new behavior, and new habits, on average, take 66 days to form, so the more strategies used, the better. Building new habits requires a strategy since your brain prefers to conserve energy and continue doing what it has always done before.
So, while your newfound desire to create healthy boundaries may have you thinking, “I’m good enough, and gosh darn it people like me,” you may still falter to maintain them until the new habit of honoring yourself becomes more integrated.
A good strategy for healthy boundary creation will address the realities of why you are failing to have any boundaries of them in the first place. Work on rewiring your negative self-beliefs. For example, try making a list of honest reasons why you don’t say no or set boundaries. Then write them in reverse so that they are positive statements about how you really want to feel and act. Turn these into positive affirmations and commit to reciting them as a part of your daily routine.
A good reason to have boundaries, strangely enough, involves good emotional habits.
If creating healthy boundaries this is part of your struggle, you likely have a long list of things waiting for your attention. If you don’t already have a vision board or give yourself time to sit and meditate on your dreams, goals, and desires, and instead have an endless personal to-do list, you might be failing to squeeze in some very important keys to happiness.
Try making space for yourself instead of constantly rushing to fix everyone else. Spend time in such as time in Be sure to give time to yourself instead of rushing out to help put out everyone else’s fires. Try spending time in nature, working out, eating well, meditating, or creating art or music. Either way, get your values and wishes together and put your motivation or rewards where you can see them every day, and to remind you of the new behavior you are trying to adopt. in your face.
Make a Plan for Common Pitfalls
If you’re not already sure what the situations tend to arise when you are the look like when you are least likely to be able to most weak hold at holding appropriate boundaries, start noticing when you’ve failed to keep them and write down what happened. You may find that you have been neglecting self-care, you have gotten caught in the web of a highly dramatic person who has immature emotional needs, or you simply need a little downtime.
Create a plan for when those common pitfalls are triggered. things happen and Rehearse them. What you can do instead when they inevitably happen. Some people like to respond to any and all requests made of them with the same answer, something like, “let me get back to you on that”, “I need to sit with that for a bit and get back to you”, “Thank you but I need to check my calendar first”, or “That sounds like fun, I wish I could. Thank you for inviting me, but I already have something planned.”
There are infinite ways you can buy time or just say no. If you plan ahead and keep trying things out, eventually you’ll be such a graceful pro, people will stop wondering what’s wrong with you. After all, you used to be their go-to person for all their wants and needs, but they’ll either find someone else to be their patsy or emotionally mature, and that’s best for everyone involved.
Handling the Fall Out
If you’re new at this there could be some fallout. People might take your new-found sovereign-self, personally. You might realize you weren’t as important to a friend or two as they were to you. You might realize that by having boundaries or even sharing that you on a journey with it, you are inspiring others to have good boundaries too. In the end, with healthy boundaries, you are showing people how you want to be treated. You’ll gain their respect and it’s most likely that the people that matter most will be happy to oblige. The ones who don’t want to honor the new and improved you probably needed to be edited from your energetic space anyhow.
Summing it Up
You can create healthy boundaries, even if you are an intuitive, super-caring empath. The relationships which need to be in your space will remain even as you honor yourself but know that this can take time to practice if you haven’t had healthy boundaries in the past. Once you have them, you’ll notice new intimacy, new inter-dependence instead and co-dependence in your relationships, and you’ll regain your lost energy. It’s completely worth it to develop healthy boundaries, even with the people you love.
Instead of constantly playing emotional tug-of-war with other people when you don’t honor healthy boundaries, you will find yourself in a place of flow, joy, serendipity, and the intricate but beautiful dance of giving and receiving.