How can we benefit from boundaries in modern life?

Modern life is demanding. And so are our relationships.

We find ourselves pulled in different directions. We juggle caring for older parents, raising children, managing a career, cultivating friendships, sustaining relationships, or seeking a partner.

These demands can shape our daily existence.

But we need boundaries.

So, how can we manage our obligations and desires while preserving our own well-being?

Upholding your values

What’s the guiding force that shapes our decisions and interactions? Our values. 

Our values anchor us and show us what truly matters. But as we age, our values may change, and our relationships often reflect our values. 

So it’s worth asking yourself the following:

Do the values that helped me in the past still serve me today?

Are my values upheld in my present relationships?

Reflecting on this, you might wonder whether certain relationships need to adapt. Just as we need to adapt to others needs, our relationships may need to adjust to align with our current value system.

And as the earth turns and certain values get the light, others values still exist in the shadows. 

Impact of Unhealthy Boundaries

When boundaries are not respected, it can have repercussions.

This might manifest itself in mental health issues or health concerns. Or simply a lack of personal time. Maybe in certain situations, you feel overlooked or taken advantage of.

However, establishing and maintaining boundaries is an active process. It involves a deliberate, reflective effort.

And whilst this self-reflection can be uncomfortable, it’s an essential step in maintaining personal well-being.

So, how can we set a boundary if we don’t know where our boundaries lie?

How can you set healthy boundaries?

Whether they’re at home, at work, or wherever we encounter other humans, our boundaries can be crossed in a number of ways.

So, where do we start? We look for patterns. 

When you think of your day-to-day, what’s had a negative impact on you? 

What’s going on? How are you feeling? What’s the impact of saying yes when you really want to say no? What’s possible for you, and what isn’t? 

Once you have a clearer picture of these patterns, you can start to learn how to change them.

How can I establish a boundary if that’s not who I am?

If you find yourself prone to people-pleasing, you’re not alone. 

Do you need to change your situation? Do you need to address it with someone? Say no, instead of yes? 

If ‘no’ feels too hard, here’s a phrase that you could try to give yourself some breathing space:

‘Let me think about it’ 

It gives you time to think and a way to say no when you feel the urge to say yes.

Nourished, neutral or depleted?

So, how can we tell if someone isn’t respecting our boundaries?

First of all, how do you feel when you’re with this person and how do you feel after you’ve been with them? 

Does the relationship feel nourishing, neutral or does it deplete you?

From there, you can consider: What’s the situation? How much choice and autonomy do I have? What feels okay? Do you need to distance yourself from that friendship? 

What would that mean? How would you go about it?

What can we do to protect ourselves?

 

Establishing boundaries is not about declaring, 

“This is my life, and no one will ever push or trigger me again.”

It’s an ongoing, lifelong process that applies universally, regardless of who you are. 

It entails continuous growth, adapting to the complexities of your relationships, and putting your personal well-being first. 

 

If you want to hear more about this, here’s a recommended read I’ve been enjoying lately.  

 

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You can contact me here if you’d like to discuss any ideas in this article. 

 

My therapy is held in person or online in my office or out and about during walking therapy.

I cover; Anger and rage – Anxiety – Bereavement and loss – Challenges with work or study – Depression – Family difficulties – Feeling stuck and dissatisfied – Food, eating and weight-related issues – Health matters – Infidelity – Intrusive thoughts – Low self-confidence and self-esteem – Loneliness – Parenting challenges – Postnatal depression – Relationship difficulties – Stress

 

Let’s talk here. 

Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher

Hello, I’m Eileen Fisher. I’m an indoor and outdoor therapist and nutritionist. I offer counselling and psychotherapy for both individuals and couples, as well as nutrition advice and support around disordered eating.

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