Boundaries are essential to healthy relationships and a healthy life. Setting and sustaining boundaries is a skill. Unfortunately, it's a skill that many of us don't learn early enough. In this article, author explores the advantage of setting boundaries. What exactly are boundaries? Boundaries show where one thing ends and another begins. Boundaries in a relationship are kind of like this; they help each person figure out where one person ends and the other begins. In short, boundaries help you define what you are comfortable with and how you would like to be treated by others. They apply to any kind of relationship you have – whether with a friend, family member, partner or anyone else in your life. Some examples of the different types of boundaries: *The family boundary: Most times (particularly in cultures that place a big emphasis on the family unit such as Asia, Africa and South America) people tend to assume that you're being disrespectful or rude when you decide to set family boundaries, but you are not and don't let anyone make you feel otherwise. Everyone has the same 24/7 slot allotted to them, however, some utilize theirs better than others and it is not your role to overburden yourself with family member issues. You won't be able to settle all of the issues at home and that is okay. Breathe and understand that everyone's got to take responsibility for their life's affair. This doesn't mean that you have to be an uncaring lump of soap! It just means you need to check in with yourself and make sure you are protecting your peace when family try to pull you in all directions (and they often will). *The friend's boundary: As vital as social circles are, it is even more vital that you and your friends can communicate your boundaries to each other without ego getting in the way. I have come to believe the saying; ...people treat you with the love and respect that you let them give you. The fact is, in life, we can’t always control what happens externally of ourselves but we can control what is in our immediate circle and how we respond to stimuli. Don't let your friends bully you all in the name of friendship, set your boundaries! What are your views on lending friends money? How do you respond when it comes to friends pressuring you to go out when you’re just not in the mood? *The lover's boundary: Whether you’re going long term or short term, you and your partner both play a vital role in the growth or downfall of the relationship. Most times when it comes to relationships, people tend to shy away from certain topics, topics that are essential; money, sex and space. Don't be bullied into saying anything and solely surrendering yourself to ONLY what your partner needs. In the words of Amanda Iheme founder of NDIDI Health ...We tend to learn what our boundaries are sometimes through misunderstandings and arguments. Learn to set those boundaries during times when it hasn't been crossed or tampered with. If there is something you don't like or want, simply say it to your partner in a very loving and gentle way that doesn't make them feel attacked. Be open to having conversations about those boundaries… *The work boundary: Family is called family for a reason. Friends are called friends for a reason and co-workers are called co-workers for a reason. Most time these said colleagues may grow into a family, some friends and others perhaps lovers BUT UNTIL THEN they are your colleagues and should be treated that way. There are workplace friendly conversations and behaviors and others that need to stay outside of the office. If your workmates are pressuring you to be or act a certain way that suits them, know how to shut that expectation down in a professional way. If your boss is trying to make you stay overtime and you know you have to be somewhere and are not getting paid, know how to communicate your discomfort. *The money boundary: Money boundaries come with what we spend our money on and who we give our money to. Not everyone needs or requires your money, sometimes all you need to do is lend a supportive hand by listening or just showing up. There are polite ways to say to friends and family who want your money that you just don’t feel comfortable lending to people close to you because you respect your relationships too much to lose them over money Some examples of personal boundaries might be: I’m cool with following each other on social media, but not with sharing passwords. I’m comfortable kissing and holding hands, but not in public. I’m okay with regularly texting, but I don’t want to text multiple times in an hour. I want to spend time with my friends/family on weekends. I need quiet time to myself every day. I’m comfortable with some touching, but I’m not ready to have sex. Last piece of the pie: Don’t be bullied into sharing everything. Even the wisest and best of us needed to set boundaries. Let people know what you stand for and where that red line stands. You’re not wicked as some may label you because you know what works for you- you’re human and you need your space and time just like we need the air to breathe. Set those boundaries today and live a peaceful and authentic life. About the writer: Bewaji is a Business Developer for CT Productions, agent of The Economist in West Africa. When she’s not doing that she focuses on her passion for food through her food business Casa B’Elise (@casa_b.elise). She enjoys all things Afrocentric and Bewaji is also an avid puff puff lover. She is a lover of poetry and music and all things random. You can reach out to her on IG @japhitwoman
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