Mental health problems can arise when limits are not set. This can cause you to feel depressed, anxious, or traumatized when others cross boundaries that you didn't know you needed to communicate with.
Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to determine and defend your limits, especially if you've never done it before. Without them, however, you run the risk of being taken advantage of, mistreated, and surrounded by people who have no idea they are hurting you.
Although it may seem overwhelming, there are many tips you can use to defend the lines that you do not want others to cross.
Here are nine ways to set limits to protect your mental health.
1. DEFINE LIMITS ACCORDING TO YOUR PERSONAL NEEDS
Before you can begin to define boundaries properly, you must understand the needs and rights that you have. Think about your fundamental human rights and the kinds of consideration you naturally give to strangers around you. This list can be very simple or very complex. It's up to you. Here are some examples:
- -The right to privacy.
- -The right to respectful treatment.
- -Right to fail and learn from failure
- -The right to challenge irrational expectations
- -The right to "no" without guilt
- -The right to needs equally important as everyone else.
These fundamental rights are the center of its limits. These are non-negotiable rights that must be honored, and you owe it to yourself to defend them at all times. With these as your baseline, you can begin to consider other limits. Think about:
WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES?
On what morals and ideals do you base your opinions and goals? How can you set limits that are well followed and complement those values? How will those values reflect or challenge your limitations?
WHEN DO YOU NEED TO SAY NO?
Make a note of when you feel uncomfortable and when you wish you hadn't said "yes" to things. Assertiveness is necessary for many parts of life, and to be assertive in your "no," you must first understand when you need that "no."
WHAT DO YOUR INSTINCTS SAY ABOUT YOUR LIMITS?
Following your gut is a great way to build boundaries, as long as they are consistent when communicating them. If you feel like something violates an unspoken boundary or even makes you uncomfortable, it's time to set a boundary.
2. KNOW WHERE YOUR LIMITS ARE
Once you know your basic needs, it's time to find out what your limits are. It's not just about how far you can get before you break up. These are physical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual limits, which can differ depending on the person involved. You would have different boundaries between family members, intimate partners, colleagues, and minor acquaintances, for example.
If it makes sense to understand, try drawing a chart for yourself and filling in the boundaries of the different groups or people in your life. Visualizing your boundaries can help you form precise and practical barriers.
3. BE ASSERTIVE, THE RIGHT WAY
When you set limits, you need to be assertive to be taken seriously. But keep in mind that assertiveness is not being cruel, nor is it overly forgiving. Assertiveness is firm without losing human empathy, and it is direct without being aggressive.
Your best bet is to use "I" statements, such as "I feel ...", "I would ..." or "I don't like ..." instead of accusatory statements, such as "Never ...", "You make me ..." or "Go away ! ". Your goal is effective communication, not a fight.
Some examples of positive assertiveness in setting limits are as follows:
- -I felt awkward when you made that joke and I wish you weren't joking about that topic around me again.
- -I am overwhelmed when every detail of my day is planned in this way. I need some leeway for improvisation so I don't get too stressed out.
- -I don't like it when you touch me there without asking. Please ask first in the future.
- -I need some time to myself right now. Let's get back to this in half an hour.
- Some examples of ineffective boundary communication include the following:
- -Keep your hands out of my closet!
- -You are ruining my whole day, and I don't want to be closer to you.
- -How dare you take that without asking?
- "My other friends never do that to me!"
- -You are so annoying and indifferent.
4. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Self-care is crucial for positive thinking and overall health and happiness. It is difficult to set and enforce limits when you are not in a good frame of mind, as what you can and cannot handle will fluctuate wildly at those times. When you are well cared for, your desire to defend yourself will increase as you recognize the importance of your feelings.
Also, don't be afraid to seek help if you need it. Getting help is part of taking care of yourself. You can talk to friends or family, seek counseling or therapy, or attend religious or support groups - whatever you need to do to get the support you need!
5. KEEP SOME SAFE SPACES
Many people have joked about the term "safe space" on the Internet, but the reason the word exists is that everyone needs safe spaces. This security is especially important in the digital age.
Some ideas to keep spaces safe are:
- Planning for "alone time" that is non-negotiable.
- Set a time limit for when you reply to messages or emails that are not entertainment.
- Create a default "out of office" response template
- Put private items in closed or secure containers or locations
- Use of codes, passwords and security features.
- Turn off your phone sometimes
- Mute online conversations you want to take a break from
- Triple verification of free day schedules with the relevant departments
- Enforce a strict sleep or rest schedule
Safe spaces can also consist of things like weather. This is especially true when it comes to things like an introvert's need to be alone or when it comes to work-life balance. The expectation of responding to work-related things outside of work hours can affect previously happy and positive relationships.
6. START WITH SMALL LIMITS AND PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
If you didn't set limits before this, that means learning these limits and how to apply them is completely new to you. This concept is the same as learning any kind of new skill. As such, you can always start small. Here are some tips:
- Start with a lower limit that is extremely easy to find reasonable and does not appear threatening.
- Don't try to force a boundary that makes you feel overwhelmed to stand up for yourself just yet.
- Go up gradually to impose more significant and more critical limits.
- Try not to worry too much about the reactions of others.
- Practice using terms like "no," "no thanks," and other similar phrases without giving an apology or reasoning.
- Try to set limits with the people you trust first.
7. GRANT YOUR PERMISSION
For many people, feelings of guilt can often take hold when they first try to set limits. You may be afraid of the response of others, feel guilty for being assertive, or doubt the validity of your limitations.
Put your positive thinking. You deserve the right to comfort and stress-free relationships, and you deserve to be respected. Allow yourself to take up space, require basic respect, and stand up for yourself because you are worth all that.
8. KNOW THE CONSEQUENCES
Every action has consequences. What are the implications of your and others' actions towards you? Here are some ways to know the consequences beforehand:
· DECIDE WHAT HAPPENS TO DISRESPECTFUL PEOPLE
Eventually, there will be someone who just doesn't respect your limits. In that situation, what are you going to do? What will be the consequences for that person? Decide this in advance, so when it happens, you'll be prepared.
· IF YOUR METHODS DO NOT WORK, CHANGE THEM
You are not capable of changing others, so your best option is to work to improve your responses to others. Be prepared to change the way you generally handle situations based on common problems.
· SPEAK THROUGH ACTIONS
Make sure your limits are enforced by more than just words. Clearly show where your limitations are and what happens when they break. Actions always speak louder than words.
· KNOW WHEN TO LEAVE
Some people are simply lost causes. If someone repeatedly doesn't respect your limits despite your communication, let them go and move on. You don't need people like that in your life.
9. UNDERSTAND WHY YOU ARE CONFIGURING THEM TO ESTABLISH A HEALTHY ONE
If you have trouble setting or enforcing limits, remember why you are doing it. Here are some essential things to keep in mind:
LIMITS IMPROVE EMOTIONAL ENERGY
When you don't set limits, pain, stress, and resentment build up inside you, and you may not know how to stop or change it. Your emotional energy is depleted and weakened, leaving you with less positive thoughts every day.
LIMITS INCREASE SELF-ESTEEM
When you set limits, you are putting yourself first where it matters. You make yourself a priority, which has significant positive effects on your self-esteem.
LIMITS IMPROVE RELATIONSHIPS
Better self-esteem means better relationships, and a better understanding of your limits allows you to enjoy your relationships without stress or fear.
LIMITS HELP YOU GROW
When you set limits, you are open and vulnerable to others, and this helps you grow as a person and foster better, more trusting relationships with others.
LIMITS ARE FLEXIBLE
You can easily set boundaries because they don't have to be set in stone. As you grow and evolve, you can make changes to your limits and update them with the ones that matter.
FINAL REFLECTIONS ON SOME WAYS TO SET BOUNDARIES TO PROTECT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Without limits, mental health suffers significantly. The fact that boundaries can be crossed without anyone noticing makes it scarier to defend them, but they're worth doing.
Keep in mind that the people who truly love you, care for you, and deserve to have you in their lives are the ones who will respect your limits. Start thinking hard about what your limits are today and you'll thank yourself later!