Imagine you are married with 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 1 cat. One night your spouse asks you, "Hey honey, can Spot sleep in our room tonight, he gets too cold sleeping outside?" You think to yourself, I don"t really want an 80-pound dog sleeping in our bed, but you don"t want to upset your partner, so you agree. The following night, little Lucy is having nightmares and asks to sleep in your bed. You comply saying "just for tonight". Two weeks later you have Spot, Jack, little Lucy, and not so little Corbin sleeping in your bed. On top of that, your spouse"s brother is asking to borrow 500$ to pay off some debt. All these things piled together have left you feeling worn out, exhausted, frustrated, not able to get a good night"s rest, and maybe even resentful.
These feelings are the result of not having healthy boundaries in your life.
If you have ever felt this way, the good news is you don"t have to live with these feelings! You can learn to set healthy boundaries in your lives.
First, to understand more about what healthy boundaries look like let"s break down what healthy boundaries are and what they are not.
What Healthy Boundaries ARE NOT:
Saying no to everything.
Controlling someone or telling someone what to do.
Self-protecting, or defending yourself.
What Healthy Boundaries ARE:
Understanding that not everyone should have equal access to you, your time, and your money.
Respecting and valuing yourself.
Taking responsibility for your actions.
Now you may be thinking, ok that all sounds great but how do I implement and set healthy boundaries in my life.
How To Set Healthy Boundaries:
Start with learning how to value yourself.
This is the very first step in learning how to set healthy boundaries in your life because you won"t protect what you don"t value. For example, you wouldn"t just give your car keys to a random stranger, probably because you value your car, and you don"t want someone to steal it. However, maybe you give your car keys to your spouse or sister because you trust and value them to take care of the car and you know they will return it. Further, you can"t take care of others until you"ve taken care of yourself. My favorite example of this is the oxygen masks on an airplane. The flight attendants always instruct people to put on their oxygen mask first before assisting others with theirs. The reason for this is if you cannot breathe, then you won"t be able to help someone else breathe. Setting healthy boundaries in your life will set you up to be a better help to others.