Emotional boundaries in a relationship are one of the most challenging yet most rewarding skills we can develop as recovering people-pleasers. They give us the ability to recognize the feelings of our partners and loved ones without experiencing them as our own. Imagine your boundaries as a bubble encircling your entire self. This bubble works as a shield that keeps your own emotions in and those of others out. You can still see and feel other people, but you’re not letting them burst your bubble, so to speak, or pollute your personal emotional space.
Without emotional boundaries in marriage and other forms of romantic and personal relationships, we allow the emotions of others to enter our own, persona, and sacred mental space without any form of filter or defense.
When we work on strengthening our emotional bubbles, we start prioritizing our own emotions and regain a sense of stability. Now, let’s not mistake “bubble” for “wall”. As said, the bubble is transparent, allowing us to still see what others are going through, process their feelings, understand and help them. You’re not creating a better space for yourself at the expense of all others around you. Rather, you’re fostering a healthier approach to both your own and their emotions. Like placing oxygen masks on a plane – you first need to put your own mask on before beginning to help others. And that’s why it’s important to explore some tips for setting boundaries.
What Does It Mean To Lack Emotional Boundaries?
Our emotional boundaries are the fine lines that separate our feelings and thoughts from the rest of the world around us. Without those fine lines, we can find ourselves in a chaotic state, overwhelmed by those around us, leaving us unable to distinguish between our emotions and emotions emanating from others. From this position of this mental confusion, we typically:
- Adopt other people’s thoughts and feelings as our own.
- Do everything we can to alleviate their anxiety, frustration, or anger, even if these actions aren’t aligned with who we are or what we want.
- React quite negatively and strongly to even the tiniest notion of others’ frustration, disapproval, or disagreement.
- Experience difficulty keeping our own true emotions when others feel differently.
- Become angry, scared, or defensive when someone else doesn’t feel the same way we do.
One of the most constructive ways to practice strengthening these limits is to change our reactivity patterns in our existing relationships with friends, partners, and family members.
What Are Some Examples Of Emotional Boundaries?
If we don’t clearly state the limits we don’t want others to cross, people tend to keep overstepping them since they feel we’re fine with it, even though we’re not? Healthy emotional boundaries can help you guide your relationships in the right direction while also giving you the power and ability to better help your loved ones. Let’s have a look at some good examples of how to set boundaries:
Voicing Your Likes And Dislikes
Emotional boundaries in marriage, as well as personal and professional relationships, are about expression and communication. By clearly stating what you like and don’t like, you’re getting your voice across, establishing your truth, but also helping your partner better understand you, which can lead to improved relationship communication and mutual satisfaction.
Dialogue And Negotiation
Talk with your partner about anything that doesn’t feel right for you, that’s hurting you, or simply making you turn into someone you don’t want to be. Negotiate your way until you accomplish a relationship climate where you don’t have to put up with anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Get rid of misplaced guilt
People tend to project their guilt on us because this way they don’t have to take responsibility for their own actions. Instead of apologizing for actions and mistakes that aren’t even yours, you can try doing the following:
- If you feel overworked, delegate tasks.
- When you feel you need time on your own, ask for space.
- Try to avoid over-committing to plans.
- Drop the feeling of guilt when you’re not at fault.
There are times when your partner will overstep your boundaries, even without meaning to. Maybe you hadn’t communicated them clearly, or maybe they’d forgotten. However, if overstepping boundaries in a relationship becomes a pattern rather than a haphazard occurrence, feel free to talk about it with your partner. Talking to each other, discussing personal boundaries, and making decisions together that you’re both comfortable with is a perfect example of healthy emotional boundaries.
What Do You Say To Set Emotional Boundaries?
When you practice setting and maintaining your limits, you’ll be able to notice you’re getting better and better at it. An efficient way to work on this is to start your own list of phrases you can use in different situations. They can be short and clear statements to help you overcome those tough moments:
- I’m not ready to change my mind on this.
- I’d like to take a break and come back to this matter once we’ve both had time to think.
- That’s not going to work for me/us.
- My feelings are as important as yours.
- Do you think that’s appropriate?
Take your time to work out your own list. You may come up with statements that relate to your situation by recalling and analyzing past experiences that made you feel scared or overwhelmed.
How Can Setting Emotional Boundaries Improve Your Life?
Establishing the limits around yourself is beneficial for both you and the loved ones around you. When you express them clearly, people will understand them, become aware of what you are and aren’t fine with, and adjust their behavior accordingly. Plus, setting clear boundaries can help enhance your life in several important ways:
- Clearly see yourself for who you are, your beliefs, values, and desires.
- Enhance your self-esteem.
- Shift focus to your own well-being.
- Improve both your emotional and mental health.
- Become more independent.
- Avoid burnout.
Let PIVOT Help You Learn What Personal Boundaries Are Set Healthy Boundaries In A Relationship
Reaching your inner peace is all about the balance and being able to create your own boundaries and feel good about letting the world know about them. You can find all the support and guidance you need through PIVOT’s personalized individual coaching and a place to grow mentally and emotionally at our Glass House retreat.
Our devoted specialists work closely with you to help you explore your own depths and find your true self. From that place within you, you gain a better perception of yourself and the world around you and start building up your relational and emotional intelligence. Get in touch with us today and embark on your journey!