For Mental Health Awareness month, I would like to focus on setting boundaries. You may be asking why of all things would I like to focus on setting boundaries, but did you know that boundaries are not a bad thing and is really healthy for you? Some people may see boundaries as walls and as if you are closing yourself off, however, boundaries can help you maintain balance and respect in yourself and in your relationships. There are different kinds of boundaries such as physical, possessions, spiritual, mental, and emotional (Health Affiliates Maine, n.d).
When thinking about boundaries we should not only focus on boundaries for other people, but also internal boundaries for ourselves. Health Affiliates Maine discusses internal boundaries as being boundaries to maintain balance in our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors while external boundaries are when it comes to others and how they treat us. When we have strong healthy boundaries, we feel safer and in control.
Tips for healthy boundary setting:
· Determine your core values.
· Start small!
· Communicate boundaries clearly.
· Stay strong and consistent in holding these boundaries.
· Use “I” statements when others don’t understand why you are setting new boundaries.
It can be scary setting new boundaries and that’s okay! Recognition of the uncomfortable can be a good thing because we know the boundaries are working. People will try to test your boundaries, and this is when we have to stay strong and stick to our guts. This is why it is sometimes necessary to start small and begin getting comfortable with the idea of boundaries. When needed use “I” statements which is stating how you feel, without putting the blame on others. For example, “I feel upset when you disregard my boundaries, because I deserve to be respected” or “I feel hurt when you read my texts, because I value my privacy.”
Author: Hailee Collier, CSW-Intern, LMSW
· 8 Tips on Setting Boundaries for Your Mental Health-DBSA Alliance
· How to Create Personal Boundaries to Improve Mental Health