It can be tough to set boundaries with those you love, especially if you were raised in an environment where your parents, teachers, or other trusted adults didn’t always exercise good judgment in setting their own boundaries.
Setting and enforcing your limits can be the key to generating healthy relationships, and in many cases can even prevent you from becoming entangled in an emotionally abusive relationship. Read on to learn more about how setting social, emotional, and physical boundaries can improve the quality of your personal relationships.
In today’s tech-heavy world, “social boundaries” has, in many ways, come to mean “social media boundaries.” While social media can allow you to connect and chat with friends and loved ones across the globe, it can have a destructive side as well.
You may want to devote some introspection to how much of your life (and emotions) you would like to publish online. Making your life an open book can provide you with regular support and feedback from your followers, but can also put your choices up for public scrutiny and comment. If you find yourself unable to make even a simple decision (like what to have for dinner) without consulting your followers, it may be time to step back from social media for a while and renew your confidence in your own decision-making abilities.
It’s also a good idea to periodically review your social media privacy settings and your list of friends or followers to ensure that any updates you do post are going to a group who will support you, not tear you down or gossip behind your back.
Alone time is important — even for extroverts who gain emotional energy from being in the company of others. You shouldn’t feel pressured into spending all your time with someone, whether they are a romantic partner, friend, or specific family member.
Setting emotional boundaries might also mean committing yourself to some uncomfortable conversations. Confronting someone who has hurt you can be awkward, and it may be tempting to just let an unpleasant incident slide to avoid the prospect of further drama. But allowing these violations to go unchecked can make it easier for them to recur.
Physical boundaries can be among the toughest boundaries to set. Social pressures and childhood conditioning have led many adults to doubt their own wishes and desires.
Reclaiming these boundaries as an adult can be one of the best things you can do for your mental health. You do not have to engage in any undesired physical affection or contact if you don’t want to, inside or outside of a relationship. By that same token, it’s important to respect others’ physical boundaries by maintaining open communication.
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