Do you often feel taken advantage of, or that you give too much without getting anything back in return – both in your personal and professional life? It might be worth considering whether this is because your personal boundaries are not clear or strong enough.
Boundaries help us prosper in our personal and professional lives by creating a healthier relationship with ourselves and others. According to Medium, “Having them in place allows us to communicate our needs and desires clearly and succinctly without fear of repercussions. It is also used to set limits so that others don’t take advantage of us or are allowed to hurt us.”
Are your boundaries clear?
What are some of the signs that you need to work on your boundaries?
- If you find yourself consistently being a “doormat” – being taken advantage of, having difficulty saying no to others.
- If you are a consistent people pleaser.
- If you always find yourself looking to others for answers, and you struggle to make decisions for yourself.
To improve the situation, you’ll need to do some reflection. It’s important to start with yourself and make sure you know what you will accept and what you will not accept.
Firstly, think about what your core values are, what your non-negotiable’s are, and what you are and aren’t willing to tolerate in your personal or work life. For example, you may decide that contributing to a non-sexist world is very important to you, and that if a friend or a co-worker makes sexist comments, you’ll speak up and object to that kind of language being used. In that way, your boundary becomes clear for the world to see, and will tell the people around you what you are and aren’t prepared to accept.
Clarify your thoughts
I would encourage you to write down your values and non-negotiables – the process really helps you clarify your thoughts, and internalise them. One you’ve written these down, make a concerted effort to be aware of the decisions that you make on a daily basis and how you behave around others.
I would also encourage you to be aware of who you surround yourself with. Do they share the same core values as you? Do they have a moral compass? Do they have your well-being in mind? If your friends are aligned to your values, you’ll have less work to do in defending your boundaries. This can be more tricky in a workplace as you have less control over who your colleagues are, so in this instance it’s even more important that you are clear about what you are and aren’t prepared to accept.
You will find that your relationships with others will improve when you work on setting your boundaries. You will be able to communicate clearly about what you will do and won’t do, and those around you will start responding accordingly – and you’ll start gaining the respect of others once they see that you are prepared to stand up for yourself. Others need to know your boundaries just as much as you do!
The bottom line is that setting boundaries isn’t selfish. Instead, it’s a sign that you practice self-respect and self-care, and are confident in who you are.
Yumna Aysen, Life Coach (www.ohyesitsyumi.com)