What You’ll Learn Today:
- How to identify your boundaries and the big mistake people make when they set their boundaries
- My 11 Guiding Principles to holding your boundaries
- What to expect when you make a boundary and keep it
Having healthy emotional boundaries means you know what your limits are. It means you know what you need to feel safe and confident in your world. It means you know your standards. It also means that you take full responsibility for your own thoughts, feelings and actions and take NO responsibility for your partner’s thoughts, feelings or actions.
How to Identify Your Boundaries:
Identifying your boundaries is easier than you might think. It’s basically at the crossroads of where two questions meet:
- What do you need to feel safe and valued? These are your core values which become your standards. This is the thing that, when it’s present, you feel relaxed (anxiety, worry and depression are not present) and at ease in your world.
- When have you mentally or physically left a relationship (this could be a job, partner, etc)? What happened that made you say in your head, “I’m out of here.” Maybe you didn’t quit the job that day, but you started sending out your resume or it’s the day you broke up with a past romantic partner or decided you could never speak to your friend Alex again. This happened because some core value was violated.
This is your core value or values and it’s from here that you create your standards and your boundaries.
You want to write down what your core values and corresponding standards. Then write down your top boundaries (no more than five) for how you need to be treated to know your partner is meeting your standards.
How to Hold Boundaries:
Holding boundaries is a skill! Like any skill, you’ll need to practice to get good at it.
There are the guiding principles to holding boundaries:
- Identify your standards and make sure they’re high but keep your expectations low.
- Let go of the idea that your partner needs to act a certain way.
- Be in loving detachment. Boundary setting and keeping needs to come from love, not from frustration, anger or helplessness.
- Know your responses ahead of time so you can act, not react when your partner tramples one of your boundaries. Stop thinking of consequences and, instead, think of responses.
- Goal of vulnerability in the relationship which means you need to start with you and not with the other person “doing what you want.” Be the person you want to see in your relationship.
- Be consistent, no matter what. Do not create a response to someone not keeping your boundary that you’re not going to follow through on.
- Focus on your behavior not your words. Stop talking and start doing. Let your actions speak for themselves.
- Self-awareness is key. If you’re not in your moments, you won’t know if someone is crossing a line or not. You need to get off autopilot and get into the here and now.
- Even if you miss a boundary crossing/violation – you can ALWAYS come back later and say something.
- Getting support is always helpful when you’re changing habits.
- Don’t justify or feel a need to explain your boundaries. And never, ever, apologize for having a boundary.
When you keep your healthy emotional boundaries, you’ll have great benefits including:
- Higher self-esteem, confidence and self-respect
- Being less codependent overall as you separate your thoughts, feelings and needs from your partner’s
- A more loving relationship because you’ll be able to trust and be more vulnerable
- Stronger sense of self and self-identity