There are a few unspoken rules when it comes to life. They are unspoken because we dislike talking about hard things as humans.
Often, the harder it is to talk about something, the more important it is to talk about it.
While boundaries are vital components of a healthy relationship, sometimes setting a boundary can feel difficult. It can feel like we are pushing away the people we love and creating distance.
We may also worry about the other person’s reaction. Will they be mad? Will they still want to have a relationship with me?
Boundaries are difficult for a few reasons, which differ for everyone. It can be worth the time to take a few minutes and ask yourself these questions. By doing so, you will be able to begin figuring out why you feel the way you do about boundaries.
- What has my experience been with boundaries? Has it been positive or negative?
- Have I tried to set a boundary with someone and been met with anger?
- What did boundaries look like in my family unit? Was I allowed to set boundaries?
We often carry beliefs that come from our experiences, without realizing that our experience was not the only option and does not determine all future events.
Once we begin to explore why we feel the way we do about boundaries, we will be more capable of understanding and navigating the feelings they create for us.
WHY WE NEED BOUNDARIES
You may think this sounds complicated. You may believe there is a need to sit and think, dwell on the past, and be curious about difficult feelings that you’d rather avoid. However, is that necessary?
The simple answer is yes. By developing the skill of setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, you will increase your capabilities to show up in a healthy relationship. A boundary is the space we need to be close to people, but far enough to maintain our own thoughts, energy, and individual identity. This will feel different and vary from person to person.
DIFFERENT RELATIONSHIPS, DIFFERENT BOUNDARIES
It’s ok to have different boundaries for different people. For example, you may have a colleague who often asks detailed questions about your finances, vacations, and daily routine. You feel annoyed every time they bring something up and have a strong urge not to answer.
You may also notice that you can discuss the details of your day with your best friend for several hours, and still not feel like you’re done talking.
That’s because you are comfortable sharing information like this with your best friend, and not comfortable being asked questions like that by a co-worker.
The difference is not the content of the conversations, but your relationship with the individual in question. Knowing your boundary with the different people in your life will help you create the connection you want.
Once you realize you do not want to have conversations of that nature with your co-worker, you can actively focus on having the conversations you do want to have with them. By taking this step, you will have less resentment towards them and feel better about interacting with them at work.
This is just one example of why boundaries are a key relationship skill.
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