The irony of boundaries is that you gain more respect when you can be who you are without letting people side-step you, your worth, your dignity, and your self-respect – no matter how uncomfortable it may feel on the inside. If the person doesn’t respect that, it’s them, not you. Nothing speaks more than a woman who lets her worth shine, who has clear boundaries, and who makes sure to stay in her lane and only her lane.
Despite what society says about how you should behave and act, the answer lies within you. With all the noise, it’s no wonder it can be a challenge to know boundaries are needed in a healthy relationship, let alone listen to your inner whispers. The truth is, having boundaries doesn’t make you appear weak. It’s quite the opposite.
Setting boundaries sets you apart because you’re someone with a backbone. You can also have the best of both worlds. You can be feminine and sexy and firm and not feel guilty. You can be that woman who stands out from the crowd. In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to set clear boundaries. Here’s what a boundary is, why you need them, and what you can do when a boundary is crossed.
What Is a Boundary?
Think of a boundary as an invisible fence that acts as a compass and guides you on what to do. Boundaries help you define your identity. Boundaries also help you determine what’s important to you, what matters, and what you value. Without them, you’d be all over the place.
You gain more respect when you can be who you are without letting people side-step you and your worth.
When you have clear boundaries, they can protect you psychologically, emotionally, and physically. Positive Psychology states, “Healthy boundaries are a crucial component of self-care.” When you have clear boundaries, you know when someone chooses to violate your boundaries and you can respond appropriately. Furthermore, “Healthy boundaries can be the difference between a happy relationship and a toxic, dysfunctional relationship.”
Boundaries also help you to stay in your own lane and not take what is other people’s responsibility on as your own burden. You’re a good individual. You mean well, and you want to help. But sometimes it doesn't help anyone to cross over into someone else's lane (and vice versa). While both parties mean well, it doesn’t feel right. It's a tell-tale sign you need to erect more solid boundaries and communicate that need better.
When the Line Has Been Crossed
You will know a boundary has been crossed when something feels off or you feel uneasy or hurt. You might brush it off, thinking it’s just a one-time offense. However, the more you continue to allow it to happen, the more you invite the wounds to grow bigger.
When someone doesn’t respect your boundaries, they don’t respect you. When the line is crossed, and you don’t speak up, you build up resentment. The inability to let go of resentment leads to further stress.
When someone doesn’t respect your boundaries, they don’t respect you.
While you rehearse and ruminate on what to do, you recoil on the inside because you’re afraid of what the other person thinks of you. You play their response over in your mind. But many times, it’s not even what they’re thinking.
It’s difficult for a relationship to thrive and flourish when you’re holding yourself back. When you’re unable to communicate what’s bothering you, then you’re not giving your all to the relationship. You withheld a part of yourself, and now you’re constantly in an internal tug-o-war wondering whether you should or shouldn't confront the person. Remember, you always have a choice of what to do when the line has been crossed – don’t be the victim, be the victor.
What To Do about It?
Relationships help us grow. They often test us in ways that help us grow more into our authentic beauty. But you’re not growing if you’re hiding behind a façade of who you are. You become stagnant, and your relationship is built on a false premise. The health of a relationship is dependent upon many factors, including how strong you are in setting and upholding your boundaries.
Also, know when to draw the line. The best policy (besides honesty) is to speak up rather than let it boil on the inside. Sometimes this involves having conversations that feel difficult, what psychologist, NY Times best-selling author, and leadership expert Dr. Henry Cloud calls a “boundary conversation.”
The best policy (besides honesty) is to speak up rather than let it boil on the inside.
A boundary conversation is just that. It lets the other person know how you feel and what’s going on. Dr. Cloud suggests being emotionally present with the person in front of you. Having this conversation is you taking ownership of your life and what matters to you because at the heart of every relationship is, you guessed it, communication.
Having the boundary talks may not be as bad as you think. It’s scary, but once you assert your boundaries, you feel more empowered.
When People React Negatively to Your Boundaries
You’re never responsible for how someone reacts to you tactfully asserting your boundaries. You don’t have control over how the person reacts, but you do over your own actions. While the other person may feel threatened because you suddenly come off strong, it’s seldom ever about you.
When you’re responsible for your needs and emotions, you’re setting clear boundaries. But when you make other people’s feelings and reactions your responsibility, then you “are crossing over their boundaries.”
When the other person reacts negatively, you don’t have to take it on and make it your business.
So how can you respond to someone else’s less-than-ideal reaction to your boundaries? Self-awareness is a big help. “When you are aware of yourself, you have more choices and options available,” says Dr. Cloud in his article “Confront that Toxic Person about Your Boundaries.” When you’re aware, you can respond responsibly.
When the other person reacts negatively, you don’t have to take it on and make it your business. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, insensitive, or that you don’t care. But it doesn’t help anyone if your choices are based on how they feel and not on what you truly feel and want. In the end, you’re the one who suffers when you give in and don’t speak truthfully about your needs and feelings.
Why You Need To Stand Your Ground No Matter What
Not communicating who you are and asking for your needs to be met feels stifling. The long-term effects can affect you psychologically and physically. The stress builds up. You carry the emotional weight around, and you feel you’re like walking on eggshells in the relationship. A healthy relationship is one where you feel free and not stuck or hindered.
A lack of boundaries or weak boundaries leads to unhealthy relationships. Healthy relationships are two whole persons working together and committed to each other. Being whole involves knowing your boundaries and being someone who can stand her ground. That translates to speaking truthfully about your experiences. That’s having integrity with yourself and being accountable for who you are. You don’t want the suppressed emotions and problems to catch up to you emotionally and bite you in the end.
Stand your ground, have integrity, and be accountable for who you are.
If you don’t stand your ground, you start to harbor anger, resentment, and bitterness. You invite a host of other negative emotions because you didn’t allow yourself to set clear boundaries. You notice you react instead of respond. You take it out on the other person because you’ve had it. And, guess what? The relationship tanks. When that breaks loose, you can lose your identity, your sense of self, and your self-respect.
The woman who has solid boundaries doesn’t need to broadcast and announce herself to the world. It shows. She radiates it. And, people, unknowingly, pick up on her not-so-subtle boundary vibes.
Having your own set of boundaries and adhering to them will do more in the long run for your physical and mental health and your relationship than worrying about what other people think. In the end, the person who wants to be there with the real you will be there.
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