Last week’s blog explored boundaries. We discussed the difference between healthy and unhealthy boundaries and how to establish healthy habits. This week, we will continue to discuss your rights as an individual to help you establish healthy parameters when a boundary has been crossed.
Knowing your boundaries means knowing your rights. Here are some helpful rules that can guide you through this process:
- The right to say “no”
- The right to take care of yourself
- The right to have your own activities, interests or hobbies separate from your family or group so as not to be closed off or over-enmeshed in your relationships
- The right to be seen and heard in a respectful and healthy manner- standing up for yourself so others learn to respect your rights, needs and not violate your space
- The right to have privacy and independence
- The right to express your feelings, positive or negative
- The right to be in a non-abusive environment
- The right to change and grow
- The right to be responsible for your own behavior, thoughts, feelings or problems
- The right not to be responsible for others’ behavior, thoughts, feelings or problems
USING “I” STATEMENTS
Effective communication is key in setting healthy boundaries. A good rule of thumb in setting or letting others know they have crossed a boundary is to use “I” statements. An easy format to use is as follows:
- Start by identifying your feelings- mad, sad, frustrated, etc. I feel…
- Identify the behavior of the other person that led to you feeling this way. (This will be the behavior which crossed your boundary) When you…because…
- Let the person know what you want or need instead. I would like…
“I feel frustrated when you are late for dinner because I’ve worked hard on preparing it. I would like for you to please be on time or call if you will be late.
Remember to use “I” statements and limit the number of “you” statements. “You” statements cause others to become defensive. With “I” statements, the focus is on you and you owning your emotions. Never resort to name calling and avoid using words such as “always” and “never”. Be patient with yourself as you learn creating new boundaries. It takes time and effort but is worth it in the end.