Blog Detail / Drawing the Line

Drawing the Line

Last updated: 06-08-21

Imagine this, you've recently purchased a pearly white rug for your room and are finally happy with how everything looks. 

Your friend has just come over with your coffee orders so you can both catch up on the week.

You point out the new rug to your friend and request her to not have the coffee while she is near the rug. Your friend smiles and you continue to have a conversation. Amid the conversation, your friend picks up her coffee mug. OH NO! what was that??? Your heart skips a beat as you watch your friend's coffee mug fall out of her hands and onto your brand-new white rug. 

She apologises multiple times and even helps you clean up. But no matter what you do the stain of coffee doesn't leave the rug. 

What do you do next?

  1. You express your feelings and ask your friend to not sit on the rug the next time she visits.
  2. You ask your friend to not eat or drink near the rug.
  3. You ask her to never visit you at home again.
  4. You forget about it.


If your answer was either A, B, or C then you, my dear reader, have set a boundary. 


Boundaries are the space between you and other people. Boundaries include physical, emotional, and mental limits that you make in order for you to establish what you are comfortable with and how you expect to be treated by another person.


Boundaries in life are extremely important, they help you maintain discipline, protect yourself and establish mutual trust and respect with those around you.


Why is it so difficult to set boundaries? For one thing, there is a perception that setting boundaries are harsh and selfish. Personally, I don't think it's harsh at all. Is it selfish? Sure, focusing on oneself is part of putting your needs first, but that isn't detrimental. 


If you don’t know how to set boundaries, here are some tips to prepare yourself for setting boundaries:


  • Before you set them up, make sure you identify them. Prepare to explain what you're talking about and how it'll work in practice.
  • To understand why your wants and requirements are so essential to you, talk to a therapist about them. A therapist can assist you in recognising things that are difficult to notice on your own.
  • If your needs aren't addressed, be prepared to follow through. Is there any room for manoeuvre? What will you do if a mutually agreed-upon boundary is violated?
  • Explain your boundary to the other person openly and calmly. Allow them time to respond and ask questions.
  • Setting boundaries can sometimes lead to compromise. Keep in mind that you should keep to your basic needs while still being willing to meet the other person's needs.
  • If one or both of you feels overwhelmed, take a break from the chat and return when you are both calm. Boundaries can occasionally cause conflict.


Closing thoughts; When it comes to boundaries, it's not about pushing people away or trying to control them. They're about defining what matters to you, such as your personal space, convictions, and self-esteem. Clarifying and articulating your beliefs can help you feel better about yourself while also improving your connections with others, often in unexpected ways.


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