Boundaries are hard to set and even more difficult to stick to. They help us determine when and to whom we say yes and no. They also determine the amount of respect we get from both ourselves and others. They’re the tool we use to put limits on the people around us so we don’t become drained physically and mentally.
Good boundaries involve two aspects: knowing our personal limits and respecting the limits of others. This can be a tricky balance, however, it can be done. Healthy boundaries can make both our lives and the lives of those around us happier.
Being comfortable around friends and family can make it easy for them to cross our boundaries without our protest.
Instead of saying no to loaning someone your car or cutting into your study time to take them to Walmart, we’re more likely to say yes to the people we care strongly for.
How do you set limits with those you’re closest with? I think good communication is the key. Make your wants and needs clear and stick to those lines. It might be hard in the beginning but your true friends will respect your boundaries.
Another important aspect of having boundaries is learning to respect others as well. Learning to recognize when someone has had enough isn’t always easy. When it’s someone we don’t know very well, it can be much simpler to take no for an answer. However, when we get a no from our friends and family, we oftentimes overstep our boundaries. We think we’re entitled to certain things. In the end, no means no.
Healthy relationships will always involve some form of sacrifice, but they also benefit from us being self-aware and knowing what our limits are. We have to take care ourselves before we can take care of others. Make time for your friends and family but also learn how to set your boundaries and make time for yourself.
Lena Wilkie is a sophomore studying international rescue and relief.