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Some Tips on Boundaries

Boundaries seem to be a popular topic these days. Most of the discussions I hear about boundaries center around what behaviors people won’t put up with. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and when discussing boundaries, I think it is helpful to note what your behavior will be. For instance, instead of “you can’t talk to me that way; I won’t put up with it,” a more helpful boundary would be “If you continue to talk to me like that, I will leave.” This subtle shift takes the power away from them and how they are acting, and gives it back to you and how you will respond and act.

 

This can be a HUGE shift. When they continue to talk to you that way, it now gives you space to leave, rather than being frustrated, stuck, or upset because they didn’t stop the behavior you asked them to stop. Ultimately, boundaries are about you protecting yourself and your wellbeing. That being said, I also like to note that boundaries don’t have to be stone walls; they can be white picket fences.

 

I like to think about boundaries like the white picket fence or gate surrounding a house. People who are meant to come in and out can, while others have to check in with you before entering and you have a choice whether to say yes or no, and there is some flexibility to change depending on what is happening in your day and life at that moment. Some people talk about boundaries like they are stone walls, which can be just as damaging as no boundaries because no one can enter and you are left all alone. There is space and need for flexibility to make sure we aren’t missing out on the kind of connection we need as humans.



 

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