I’ve always believed that by improving one’s ability to communicate effectively to ourselves and each other, we can truly improve our mental health and live more fulfilling lives. Especially in the context of setting and communicating healthy boundaries.
As human beings, many of us want to say yes to everyone who asks or needs our help, but the challenge is that we don’t take care of ourselves in the process. Knowing how to set and more importantly, communicate boundaries with your friends, family and colleagues at work is an excellent way to control parts of your life because you’ll feel like you’re in control of your own life.
There are three parts to setting healthy boundaries with your community.
Having very specific boundaries is important BEFORE you communicate them. Why? Because there’s a big difference between telling someone:
“I need more alone time.”
“I would like to spend the first 45 minutes of my day reading a book because it creates more joy in my life and allows me to show up as a better version for you and everyone else. Could you please help me achieve this daily goal I would like for myself?”
When we are SPECIFIC about what we want, it is much easier for the people around us to support what we would like from them. Thus, it becomes our responsibility to reflect for some time to write down the boundary and write down why that matters to us. This alone will massively improve our ability to communicate boundaries and improve our mental health in the process.
Given that setting boundaries can be new for us, my recommendation is to begin with individuals in your network who are open minded and exceptional listeners. These individuals have strong levels of empathy and will gladly work with you & hear your boundary because they WANT to support you and help you be happier. Make a list of 3 people in your life that you feel meet these qualities the most and get their feedback on the boundaries you’d like to set and how you’re communicating them.
Once your internal community supports and respects your boundaries, you can slowly begin to have the rest of your network know about them as well. This could be with clients, business partners, co-workers, family members until they are respected by everyone. Starting this journey can be hard at first, but once you reap in the benefits of setting clear and powerful boundaries, the joy and freedom it will give you is paramount.
Take that first step to writing down one easy boundary you would like for yourself and start communicating that to the world around you.