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It's Mental Health Awareness Month: Let's Talk Boundaries

How to Have Healthy Boundaries

What are boundaries and why are they necessary for your relationships?

Boundaries are one of my favorite topics to discuss because of how vital they are to the health and success of our relationships. They help us feel safe and comfortable while also informing others of the best ways to interact with us.

Consider a boundary like a fence around your yard. The fence is there to protect what’s inside from external harm. It also exists as a reminder to others that your property is private, belonging to you. They’re welcome to enter your property, but only with your permission. Personal boundaries serve a similar purpose: to comfort, protect, and remind what you’re willing to accept from another.

Establishing Boundaries

Knowing what boundaries are, how do you establish them?

The best, and most appropriate way is by sharing what you’re comfortable with and what you need. Calling attention to your fence doesn’t require the other to respect it, but it informs them of what you’re willing to tolerate (your property lines).

Since the boundary is yours, it’s vital for you to communicate it as such. Instead of attempting to force control by saying, “You need to stop cussing at me”, talk about yourself and establish the boundary by saying, “I don’t appreciate being cussed at. I’m hoping we can have a respectful conversation”.

Maintaining Boundaries

When a boundary (fence) is violated, it’s your responsibility to politely remind others of its existence. You do this by restating the boundary you shared earlier. It may sound something like, “I don’t like being cussed at. I need for this conversation to continue using kind, respectful language”.

The important thing to keep in mind is that your boundary, or fence, is for you. It’s not for others. They see the fence, but ultimately they’re able to choose whether or not they want to respect it. Someone jumping your fence, or violating your boundary, will likely result in you feeling disrespected, unsafe, and uncomfortable. Unfortunately, you’re not able to control them, or dictate what they do. You’re only able to control how you respond. So make sure to respond appropriately, in a way that protects you without violating them. Ways to respond to boundary violations will be addressed in a later article; be sure to check it out!

About Our Village Contributor

A.J. Garcia, MA, LMFT, QCS

Thrive Counseling

Lake Nona Business Owner & Resident

A.J. Garcia is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Qualified Supervisor in the state of Florida, and holds a certificate in Play Therapy. She earned her degree from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. She began Thrive Counseling in 2012 with the goal of creating a space for clients of all ages and walks of life to find opportunities for positive growth in their lives. Integrity and professionalism are at the top of A.J.’s core values, and they serve as the foundation of her work with clients.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Village Connect by 3rdArm, Inc.

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