Ever feel people run over you? Or your feelings don’t matter to others? Most likely you are not setting healthy boundaries with those around you. Without boundaries, you are telling others that your needs don’t matter. You give people a welcome chance to walk over you. You become a human “welcome mat!
But don’t blame yourself totally. They don’t teach this in school, so how are you to know? But now that you do know about it, you can take steps to fix this starting now.
First, let’s identify what a lack of healthy boundaries looks like. At the very end, you will find the most important piece needed to have healthy boundaries!
Lack of Boundaries Look Like This: Some Examples
- Giving in to what you don’t want because of fear of losing a friendship, relationship or being seen as “pushy”
- Being afraid to speak up due to fear of being “put down” or confronted by others
- Experiencing a fear of being judged or humiliated so you say “nothing”
- Not trusting yourself to make healthy decisions, so others do it for you
- Having a fear of being ostracised by others
Bullying, Being Pushy, Making Threats, and Giving Ultimatums are Not Healthy Boundaries
When someone uses one of these tactics, chances are it’s about power and the fear of not being in control. Other times, it’s fear of a potential loss of a relationship or job. Sometimes you may want to avoid looking “weak” to others. Experiencing a fear of being seen as “wrong”, less competent, or being taken advantage of by someone is common with many people.
None of these reasons are healthy ones. However, there is one Exception:
Sometimes parents, teachers, bosses, and spouses need to set an ultimatum when someone clearly is not honoring, or as children, obeying the wish of the other person. This is especially the case when one person has made the request multiple times and had it ignored.
What Happens When We Lack Healthy Boundaries?
- You are encouraging others to take advantage of you.
- People are uncomfortable with those who don’t set boundaries because they don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s treatment.
- They don’t want to have to walk on “eggshells” because someone is avoidant of accepting their own responsibility.
- People don’t respect those who don’t value themselves, especially when that person looks to others to value them instead.
- Lacking healthy boundaries is about you not honoring your true “core” inside…your true Self.
So, now you know what unhealthy boundaries look like, and the consequences of not having them. Let’s take a look at what healthy boundaries look like, and the impact they have on one’s life.
Healthy Boundaries Lead to Honoring Yourself in Different Ways Because You…
- Know yourself well – what works for you, makes you feel good about yourself, and allows you to have healthy, nourishing, and long-lasting relationships
- Feel emotionally safe with others
- Respect yourself and experiencing others who feel the same way towards you
- Have the ability and willingness to apologize and accept responsibility for your actions because you know no one is perfect. We all make mistakes.
- Value yourself and feel valued by others who demonstrate this in multiple ways.
- Are willing to stand up for yourself, and what you believe to be right.
- Attract emotionally healthier friends around you.
Setting Healthy Boundaries With Family
This is a larger topic for another time. However, remember that even if the other person doesn’t agree or comply, you can still stand in your own truth. When you state boundaries in a respectful manner it is in no way being disrespectful. However, in some cultures, setting boundaries is viewed as disrespectful, regardless of how you present it.
For now, here is an article I wrote a while ago that may apply. Here.
The more you value yourself, the easier it is to set healthy boundaries. As you do this, you will attract other healthy people to you. When people have truly healthy self-esteem, they value themselves and others who are emotionally healthy.
If you find yourself around people who take advantage of you or demonstrate they don’t value who you are, they are the wrong people to have as friends or mates.
You can also set healthy boundaries even with your coworkers. If they continue to be rude towards you, you may need to elicit the help of your boss. If this dynamic continues, you may want to bring it to the attention of your human services department, or with your boss once again.