Knowing When And Where To Draw The Line Protects Your Relationships And Mental Health

Aug 06, 2022

Knowing when and where to draw the line protects your relationships and mental health

(Photo by fillvlad)

How can we let each other know our limits? By establishing boundaries. This is not a bad thing, positive conflict is good. It helps people come to an understanding about these lines that we draw.

Boundaries are valuable in this world. That is why they exist everywhere you look. The walls of your home protect you from what's outside, keeping you dry and comfortable. Your skin protects your insides from being so vulnerable. Boundaries in your social life are equally as important.

Influencing how people treat you

At home, at work, and with friends and family, it is vital that you set up clear boundaries. This is important for many reasons. People need privacy and personal space to recharge and relax. The lack of these two things will quickly result in a stressful situation. 

If you want to make sure that the people around you respect your privacy and alone time, you have to make it a priority. This can be very difficult if you are a parent or caretaker. But, hopefully there is someone in your life that can assist you and allow you to enjoy some time on your own. Reach out to them and explain how grateful you would be for some alone time, and ask if they can help you to do that.

Can conflict be used for good?

Whether you realize it or not, you tell people how they are allowed to treat you. Not always verbally but, with body language and the way that you react, or don't react, to situations. 

If you are someone who feels as though people walk all over you, you may not be telling them not to. You might avoid conflict at all costs but, conflict doesn't always have to be negative. Positive conflicts are often necessary to establish your boundaries. 

For example, someone is constantly entering your room or office without knocking first. You might think to yourself, "Why is this person not respecting me? Everyone knows that you knock before you go into someone's room!" The problem with this way of thinking is that it assumes that everyone knows what you know. Everyone is different. We all come from different cultures, places, and families. 

The only way to be sure that someone knows that you prefer that they knock before entering, is to tell them yourself. You are going to have to ask them to change their behavior. It may help to explain why it makes you feel the way it does, if you feel comfortable doing that. When you tell them, they will know that it bothers you, and can then change. Show people how you respect yourself and they will respect you too.

Reading the room

Pay attention to your personal and work relationships. Do you treat some coworkers differently than others? Is it because they set up expectations around how they're treated? 

If you want your boundaries to be respected you must also respect others'. Everyone has their own set of boundaries and ways to communicate them to the world. Try to be conscious of the signals that others are putting out. You must learn to recognize how you are doing this as well. 

Setting up boundaries may be uncomfortable at first. You may feel like you are "being mean". Like since you've let this behavior slide in the past, you can't call it out now. That's not true. Boundaries can be set at any time, they can change, morph, and so on. 

Recognize that it will be far more uncomfortable to continue living without boundaries. Do this for yourself and you may be surprised how freeing it is.

Continue Your Journey