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A couple leans on each other and smiles because they have healthy boundaries in their relationship.

6 Boundaries Crucial for Relationships in 2021

If there’s one thing 2020 has taught many of us, it’s restriction and boundaries.

Physical boundaries at least – maintaining social distancing, being mindful of our actions when around others, washing our hands, and following the guidelines is part of the boundaries we have had to learn this past year.

But what about emotional boundaries? How well do we do when it comes to those?

Whether of the physical, emotional, or mental kind, boundaries are what we set to maintain a sense of order and balance within and around us. Without boundaries, we descend into chaos one way or another, and the outcome can be a devastating one.

Setting boundaries in relationships is something many of us struggle with.

The truth is, many of us don’t like saying no.

Are you someone who struggles to set boundaries in your relationships? Answer the following questions to see if this is the case:

  • Do you have trouble saying no to others?
  • Do you feel that people take advantage of you?
  • Do you find yourself having to explain your way out of things that are not your fault?
  • Do you feel a strong duty to fix other people’s problems all the time, often at the expense of dealing with your own?
  • Does drama seem to crop up all the time, even though you dislike it?

If you answered yes to all or most of these questions, you likely have a problem setting boundaries in your personal relationships.

How to Set Boundaries in Relationships

Having trouble setting boundaries in relationships usually points to taking too much responsibility for other people’s emotions.

Essentially, it is important to remind yourself that it is okay not to do this.

The love we feel for others is an emotion, and it is boundless, mysterious, sometimes irrational, and beautiful. But as with all emotions, we must take responsibility for them to some degree.

Any emotion that spirals out of control can have consequences. Love is no different. Setting boundaries in our personal relationships does not mean we are cruel or cold; it simply means that we are taking responsibility for our emotions by reminding ourselves that we do not have to take full responsibility for others’ emotions.

Below are six boundaries we can set in our relationships as we move in 2021.

2020 has been a challenging and stressful year for many, and perhaps now more than ever, it is crucial we set boundaries to help bring a sense of balance and order to what has been a thoroughly disorderly time!

Boundary #1: Learning to Say No to Gatherings

You may find yourself in a situation where you struggle to say no to a friend, acquaintance, or family member who invites you to a meetup. You may feel uncomfortable attending as we are in a pandemic, but the other person may be insistent or become offended if you say no.

At this point, you may feel pressured into saying yes. But saying no does not mean you are rude. It means you are placing a boundary, and others must respect you for it.

Don’t feel bad for saying no. Your wishes are to be respected as much as anyone else’s.

Boundary #2: Not Overcommitting

If someone asks you to do something and spend time on something and feel that you cannot or do not feel comfortable doing so, remember that it is okay to say no.

Tell them exactly how much time you can give to them regarding their specific project or event. Overcommitting can result in more stress and anxiety on your part, so it is important to recognize your own needs and others.

Boundary #3: Asking for Space

We all need space from time to time, and if you have a demanding lover or friend, it is important to set boundaries to ensure you have time to yourself.

Explain clearly to them that you need to have time to yourself. If they become angry or upset with you, stand firm and don’t let guilt eat away at you or feel that you have to backtrack.

Remember that you have a right to have time to yourself.

Read this article next: How to Create Healthy Boundaries With Love Instead of Fear

Boundary #4: Speaking Up for Your Wellbeing

Everyone has been confined somehow during the pandemic, which means people have been squashed together in an unusual way or previous limits have been broken.

You may have found yourself with a noisy neighbor or a roommate who plays their music in the early hours of the morning, interfering with your sleep.

Confrontation is rarely enjoyed by anyone. However, sometimes it is necessary, and it doesn’t have to be negative. Don’t be afraid to be firm and tell people when they are bothering you.

If a neighbor is constantly making noise that disturbs you, don’t be afraid to tell them so respectfully and politely. If your roommate is disrespectful and blares their music when you are trying to sleep after a long shift at work, don’t be afraid to tell them this. Keep things calm and civil. They may not even realize they are bothering you so much.

You have a right to speak out if something or someone is bothering you and stand firm in your decisions.

Boundary #5: Setting Clear Rules

Someone may wish to visit you in your home, but you may feel uncomfortable doing this due to the pandemic. You may feel you are rude if you say no.

Your partner may not want to sanitize their hands or wear a mask while out in public, and this may make you feel very uncomfortable.

If this is the case, then setting clear rules is one way of setting your boundaries. For example:

I am not having anyone visit me at my home at this time.

This is a clear rule that you have set that makes you feel comfortable and which is to be respected by others.

In the case of your partner refusing to follow guidelines, this can be very tricky. They may be the more dominant one in the relationship, or they may not respect your wishes.

They may feel it is their choice not to wear a mask or wash their hands, but compromise is essential in a relationship. Even if they personally do not feel they have to, what about your wishes?

Make sure that you have your feelings heard.

It is important to have a serious discussion with them about their actions, and if they still refuse, then it is time to ask yourself if this is the type of relationship you want to be in.

Boundary #6: Making Time to Work on Your Self-Esteem

This is a boundary to set for yourself so that you can set boundaries more easily with others. It’s like the prebiotic you need to eat before taking probiotics! And let’s be honest; the most important relationship we have is our relationship with ourselves.

Having trouble with setting boundaries almost always points to issues with self-esteem. Someone who can say “no” and set boundaries is someone who has healthy or high self-esteem.

Esteem fundamentally boils down to respect for oneself and others.

Working on your self-esteem can help you realize that you are worthy of respect as much as anyone else, and subsequently, you will find it easier to set personal boundaries. A few ways to start doing this include:

  • Being nicer to yourself.
  • Challenging negative thinking.
  • Doing what makes you happy more often.
  • Surrounding yourself with supportive people.

Make 2021 the Year of You

Having trouble setting boundaries in relationships is usually due to feeling obligated to do something because you fear the consequences – not doing something because you actually want to.

A relationship or friendship based on this kind of fear is unhealthy and will result in consequences of its o in the long term in the long term.

2021 brings a new year, and we hope it will bring relief from the struggles we have encountered in 2020. Let’s help ourselves by setting boundaries in our relationships and friendships and learning to respect ourselves as much as we respect those around us.

Related article: 8 Journal Prompts for Overcoming Anxiety

Sarah Brownlee

Sarah Brownlee

Having worked as a teacher, a bartender, and even a private investigator, writing was something Sarah Brownlee just fell into, even though it had been her passion since she was a little girl. To date, she has written and published 3 Children and Young Adult fiction novels, ghostwritten for others, and... Read More

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