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  • Writer's pictureLaryssa Levesque

How To Create Healthy Boundaries

Maintaining healthy boundaries is an essential part of life if we want to create quality relationships and support our mental health. But unfortunately, establishing boundaries can actually be quite challenging, especially if you're not assertive or prefer to avoid confrontation. If you’re struggling in relationships and wondering how to create healthy boundaries, then keep reading as we explore 6 tips to create boundaries!


What Are Boundaries?


Before we dive into how to create boundaries, it is important that cover what boundaries even are. In a nutshell, boundaries define where one person ends and another begins; it is like an imaginary line that essentially outlines what someone is okay with and how they'd like to to be treated.


Boundaries can be personal, physical, emotional, time-oriented, and material. All of these types of boundaries are important to establish in relationships to protect your wellbeing and help ensure that you are forming respectful, fulfilling, and healthy relationships with others so that your needs are met. And of course, just as your boundaries in a relationship are important, so are others'.


How to Create Boundaries in Relationships


Now that we have a clear definition of what boundaries are, we can get into some tips on how to create boundaries. Here are 6 of our favourite tips for creating boundaries in any kind of relationship!


how to create healthy boundaries in relationships

1. Identify Your Limits


As we mentioned, there are various types of boundaries. So the first step in creating healthy and effective boundaries is to identify your limits within the various types of boundaries.


What are your non-negotiables? What are your deal-breakers? What makes you feel safe and secure? How would you like to be treated? Understanding what you can and can’t handle will help you communicate your boundaries more effectively to others. Set aside some time to really think about your personal boundaries and write them down. Writing your thoughts down can often help you sort out and clarify your ideas.


2. Be Clear, Direct And Assertive


People can only respect boundaries that they understand properly, so being clear and direct is essential when communicating your boundaries. Avoid beating around the bush or sugar-coating things. Be assertive without being aggressive or rude, and remember that it's okay to say no. For example, if your co-worker always interrupts you during meetings, you can say something like, "Hey, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I need to finish my thoughts before you jump in." See, assertive and polite! Those around you will learn to respect your boundaries, even if it takes them some time to get used to it.


3. Practice Self-Care


Creating effective boundaries requires self-care. You need to prioritize your needs and take care of yourself first. This may mean saying no to things that don't align with your values or that drain your energy. It also means taking time for yourself to relax, recharge, and do things that bring you joy. For example, if you're feeling stressed out, you can draw, read a book, or go for a walk. There are lots of options when it comes to self-care activities! Just make sure you’re not using self-care as an excuse to completely ignore your responsibilities or neglect your relationships.


4. Learn to Say No


Learning to say no is a crucial part of creating effective boundaries. Many people struggle with feelings of guilt or obligation when it comes to valuing their own time and energy. This can lead to issues such as burnout and feeling under appreciated. Remember that saying no doesn't make you a bad person or mean that you don't care about others. It simply means that you're prioritizing your needs and values.


5. Set Consequences And Enforce Them Consistently


If you’ve never really been an assertive person or established firm boundaries in your life, chances are that people will probably cross your boundaries at some point. If someone violates your boundaries, it's essential to set consequences. That can be stressful if you prefer to avoid confrontation, but having consequences doesn't mean getting revenge or being vindictive. It means setting clear expectations for what behaviour is or isn’t acceptable, enforcing your boundaries consistently, and not wavering when faced with pushback or guilt. If you aren’t clear about the repercussions of violating your boundaries, people will keep pushing you.


6. Get Support


Getting support is important when it comes to creating effective boundaries. This may mean reaching out to friends, family, or a counsellor for support and guidance. Sometimes it can be helpful to have someone else's perspective on a situation, and they can help you stay accountable for enforcing your boundaries. Seeking out support when you need it is important, but try not to confuse that with seeking validation. For example, if you're struggling to set boundaries with a difficult family member, it's okay to reach out to someone you trust for support and advice. However, if you're only seeking validation for your actions and not willing to hear other perspectives or make changes, there’s nothing you can learn from the other person and you won't get the most from your relationships.


The Bottom Line


Creating healthy boundaries can be challenging, but it's an essential part of self-care and can have a significant impact on our mental health. Without boundaries, we can easily become overwhelmed and stressed out. Setting boundaries can be awkward and uncomfortable, but with a little practice, we can learn to set boundaries that protect our mental health and improve our quality of life. By identifying limits, being clear and direct, practicing self-care, learning to say no, and setting consequences, we can create boundaries that work for us and help us lead happier, healthier lives.


If you’re ready to work on your assertiveness and establish healthy boundaries in your life, but feel like you need some additional guidance, Inner Growth’s counsellors in Barrie are here to help! We have various virtual and in-person therapy services in Barrie to suit your needs. Contact us to schedule your free 15 minute consultation or to book a full session!


 

Our team of online and in-person counsellors and psychotherapists in Barrie provide quality and effective mental health counselling services in Barrie and virtually across Ontario to individuals (6+), couples and families. We also offer an Affordable Therapy Program that provides counselling services in Barrie to individuals (12+) who are facing financial challenges that need mental health support.

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