No matter how much you love someone you need to have boundaries so that you can keep loving them in a healthy way.
It’s not news anymore that in order to function properly we need to know when to say no to others and yes to ourselves.
But setting a boundary with your work colleagues or some friends you don’t see too often it’s only the start. A good one. But what about the people you love most? The boundaries are still needed with them and they are going to be different, and probably more difficult to express.
How to set boundaries with your loved ones?
Now, if you are ready to expand your boundaries, as you should, start by defining them. Make a list with BOUNDARIES FOR LOVED ONES. Some of your already set boundaries will be on this list as well, but you will have some more specific ones as well.
If you want to dive deeper, make a list with the closest people from your partner if you have one, to best friends, parents, siblings, even kids, and other relatives you see often. Now, next to each of them write an event that made you angry, stressed or upset (don’t overthink it). From here establish what boundaries would have helped to prevent feeling like that, such as refusing the invite, stating your opinion clearly, explaining beforehand that you are available for a limited time frame, telling them to stop treating you in a certain way, and so on.
Once you are clear on your boundaries and why you need them it’s time to apply them. The first time it might sting a little or a lot. Let it sting and do it again anyway. And here is the reminder that you are not selfish no matter what others make you think. Taking care of yourself will translate to being able to properly care for others.
How will these boundaries help you love better though?
To love someone doesn’t mean to be available 24/7 for them. But to be your best and true self around them and to be there for them for their joys and sorrows (this doesn’t mean non-stop). When you start expressing your needs and prioritizing time just for you, you will re-charge and have more energy for others as well. You will be more present when spending time with your loved ones and less reactive if they do something that triggers you because you know when to draw the line.
Setting boundaries with family, best friends, or lovers isn’t easy, but learning this skill is crucial to your growth and overall well-being.