If you follow me on social media, I talk about boundaries A LOT. Why? Well because boundaries either create a sense of safety or they provide a sense of vulnerability and insecurity. We all have boundaries- even if we don't know it. Some people have very rigid boundaries that keep them safe, yet keep people out. And others have very porous, open boundaries that let lots of good (as well as bad) in. But porous boundaries hurt you in the process. Having both types of boundaries serves a specific function. Rigid boundaries will definitely keep you safe-especially if you've had loss and hurt in the past. It's a great way to protect yourself when you've experienced lots of bad. The problem is that rigid boundaries also keep good, safe people out. So you'll definitely feel safe, but you might end up being lonely.
With porous boundaries you will get lots of good people coming into your life, but the bad will also be able to come in. It's a great way to get to know lots of acquaintances and have tons of fun, but it means you don't have a screening process to let the good in and keep the bad out. Many people I talk to don't give much thought to boundary setting. I suggest that you start to think more about it. If you don't think about boundaries, you might open your world and your heart to people who aren't a good fit- thereby causing you a world of pain, confusion and frustration. In reality you want healthy, flexible boundaries so you can keep the bad out and allow the good in. And once the good is in, flexible boundaries allow them to stay in.
So, how do you begin to set boundaries?
1) Get clear on what your values are: If you've never decided what your values are, you'll open your life up to just anyone and everyone. So sit and think, "What are my top 5 non negotiable values?" These will serve as a guide when you're on the hunt for friendships, acquaintances, business partners and romantic partners. Because boundaries aren't just for marriages, boundaries affect every aspect of your life. If your values include honesty, sobriety, patience, family togetherness and love, then you will instantly screen out anyone who doesn't have the same values. Does this mean all your friends have to be just like you? Nope. It just means your friends should have similar values- even if their personalities are different from yours. If you value sobriety, but everyone you hang out with is using substances, chances are you'll always feel uncomfortable around them and might even end up using just like them. You are who you hang out with after all.
2) Know what your people limit is: How many people do you want in your life? Sometimes you might feel the need to have 100 close friends. Well, not everyone can tolerate a full social life. Be honest with yourself. If you feel exhausted being with a lot of people or always being on the phone to check up on the people in your life, then perhaps you don't need a huge list to fulfill your social needs. But if you have a few close friends and a yearning to open your life up to more people then perhaps you need to do just that. But be honest with yourself. Are you expanding your social list because you think it's the thing to do, or will adding more people bring you more joy? It's your life. You get to set the limit regardless of what others think.
3) Write a detailed list of the type of people you deserve: Now that you're clear on your values and how many close friendships you can comfortably tolerate, the best step is to dig deeper and write out the specific qualities you want in your people. Realize that hot every person is your person, and that's just okay. Even if the people around you believe both of you would make great friends or acquaintances, you don't have an obligation to include everyone in your life. So, what are the qualities you deserve in a friend, acquaintance or partner? Write them down, review them regularly and study them. This list will set you up for boundary success.
4) Write a list of the type of people you don't deserve: After you've created a list of the qualities you'd love in someone who is a part of your inner circle, what qualities do you absolutely not deserve in a person? Think about habits and character traits that drive you nuts. Or think back to people who have caused you pain. What qualities do you need to be protected from? Of course, you should add things related to abusive and controlling traits as those will only bring you pain- no one deserves abuse and mistreatment.
5) Figure out what type of person you need to be to attract the right people: Like attracts like. The next step is to figure out what type of person you need to be in order to attract people with your desired traits. Why do you need to do this even for friendships? Well because your friends will either raise your self esteem or completely tear it down. You need good quality friends who will fill you with joy, give you sound advice and help your journey through life be better. The people you spend majority of your time with will do a great job of shaping your ideas about who you are- so pick wisely. Many women think they can attract nice, respectful friends, but are they also nice and respectful? You see, if you want to attract good people, you also have to work on building your character. Sometimes coaching or therapy- depending on what your needs are- can help you with this.
6) Figure out a system to push out the bad: Once you've set your values, figured out who you deserve around you, and worked on building your character, the next thing to do is to weed out the bad. When someone tries to date you, but you realize they don't meet your character standards, then you simply turn away (or run!) in the other direction. It's that simple. You don't owe anyone anything. What if the person is family? Well it's time to learn how to spend less time with that person and reduce the impact they have in your life. Remember, bad boundaries could even affect your self esteem.
So are you ready to start creating healthy boundaries? Which one of the above works best for you? And if you'd like to work with me on setting clear boundaries so you can become a confident women, click here to schedule a FREE 15 minute consultation call. Life is too short to spend it with people who don't life you up. I also offer online counseling or therapy sessions for women who live anywhere within California.