Silly darling, stop craving her attention if you can’t handle her love.”
In order to build your own personal and emotional space you need to know how to set and communicate healthy boundaries. It’s essential to establish and communicate personal boundaries for our mental and emotional wellbeing, and sometimes even our safety. But why can communicating boundaries be so darn difficult at times? And how do we set compassionate boundaries within our relationships?
To begin with I would like to mention that I’m far from perfect when it comes to setting and communicating boundaries. However, I’ve learned a lot the past years by being in challenging relationships. And while I may not have understood how to set boundaries then, I now know better, and can see things (the past) with much brighter eyes. We learn by going through different life experiences, since they are here to teach us, not to punish us. And I guess some things require plenty of trial and error before we can finally say – I think I know better now.
I believe it’s rather common to fall into a victim mindset once you realise you’ve put other people’s needs above your own. You start blaming yourself for not knowing better. However, this attitude won’t help you evolve. In other words, it can in fact be detrimental for your growth. Therefore, although easier said than done, try everything you can, not to fall into a negative mindset. Instead, recognize it as an opportunity to take your power back. Focus on learning and growing, and to not let it consume you ever again.
Healthy boundaries – Compassion towards self.
Why can setting and communicating boundaries be so challenging at times?
There may be various reasons for this, and it depends of course on the person, or the situation per se. One can argue that it stems from us not wanting to upset people; we don’t want to be regarded as too selfish, or unfriendly. Nonetheless, setting clear and honest boundaries is not selfish, and it’s not about you being unkind and unfair to someone. Having people taking advantage of you is not kindness; that is people pleasing. Neglecting your own needs, and putting other people’s wants and needs above your own is detrimental to your self-esteem and self-confidence.
With this in mind, it can be hard to see things as they are when you’re caught up in the midst of it all. You may regard yourself as a kind and compassionate human, one who’s always wanting what’s best for others. And don’t get me wrong, these are remarkable traits, however, the moment you start disrespecting yourself, and putting others on a pedestal, is the moment the relationship becomes unhealthy and toxic.
If you never been taught how to set healthy boundaries it may feel awkward and unfamiliar at first. It’s possible that you feel like you’re demanding too much, and simply being too much. Nevertheless, know that you have the right to speak up about the things important to you. You have the right to show yourself both respect and self-care, without being regarded as someone that is demanding too much.
Stating your needs is crucial for your well-being, and the base for a healthy relationship. If you lose people by communicating your wants and needs, maybe they weren’t your people to begin with? We are not here on earth to people please, and to satisfy everyone else’s needs but our owns. We’re here to show each other respect and care, however, you don’t have to spend time with another human being, although you respect him or her. You’re allowed to take a step back, and to say no. You’re allowed to do what feels good to you.
As long as we keep an honest communication with one another, already from the beginning, and being clear and to the point with what we seek in a relationship, I think we can eliminate unnecessary pain and suffering.
How to set healthy boundaries?
To begin with we need to understand that setting boundaries doesn’t mean that we disrespect another human. Rather it means that we’re being honest and authentic towards both ourselves and others.
You’re stating what’s important to you, meaning you respect yourself, and therefore show others how to treat you.
If you like someone it’s easy to fall into a ”I want to please you” mindset. Trust me, I’ve definitely been guilty of that. I also believe a relationship is about give & take, as well as compromising. But as soon as you start compromising your own well-being, and your own self-worth, it can easily turn into a spiral that once spinning, will be difficult to turn off and quit.
Be honest & clear in your communication.
In order to communicate your boundaries you first need to know what your boundaries are. Therefore, take time to figure out what it is that you want and need from a relationship, whether it’s a relationship with your partner, parent, child or boss/colleague. Boundaries look a bit different depending on the relationship, so be clear about what’s important to you in regards to each relationship. Take the time you need to really examine your current relationships; are there improvements to be made? Are there things you feel the need to communicate, and to change?
When you’re clear about your boundaries, be as honest and open as possible in your communication. There’s no one that can read your mind, and therefore, you can’t assume that others will know what’s important to you, especially if you never communicated it. Thus, speak with honesty and integrity about the things close to your heart.
Dare to show people the real you; demonstrate your deepest wants and needs. And bare in mind, there will be times when people can’t give you what you need. You can’t force anyone to treat you the way you’re worthy of being treated – that is something that should come naturally to people. If they don’t respect you, then I believe the only thing you can do is to let them go. It may sound harsh, but why even beg someone for their love and appreciation? You find that love and appreciation within yourself, and trust me, there are plenty of humans out there who will know how to treat you. Don’t put energy onto those who will never see your true worth. You know your worth, and that is more than enough.
Show compassion & respect one another.
When someone can’t meet your standards it doesn’t mean that they are a bad person. Sometimes we don’t see eye to eye, and that’s completely fine. The only thing left to do is to respect our diversities. We need to learn to respect each other’s personal and emotional spaces, and in order to do so we need to be able to speak up about our own needs – hence give others the space to do the same. Actually, it’s when we’re true to ourselves, and honest about what’s important to us that we give the right people the opportunity to show up in our lives.
This being said, there’s no way you can please everyone, so don’t even attempt to. Trying to make everyone else but you happy and satisfied will only drive you towards pain and suffering. Focus on pleasing yourself, and start with being true and honest towards yourself. Don’t be afraid to speak up about the things important to you. This is how the people who are meant to be in your life will come to you. They will see you for who you really are, and they will appreciate and respect your honesty. Your job is to show them who, and what you are.