For us humans, a healthy boundary can act as a buffer zone where differences within ourselves or with others can be identified and accepted. This can help us improve our relationship with ourselves as well as our relationship with others.
Boundaries can be physical, mental, or emotional such as the boundaries around body image, relationships, or food.
Healthy boundaries allow us to:
Value our own feelings and needs.
Create realistic expectations.
Feel physically and emotionally safe.
If you’re someone who struggles with body image, comments about your body from others, as well as from yourself, can be harmful. That’s why setting boundaries around body image with others, as well as with yourself, is essential.
You can achieve this by :
1. Demanding respect from others as well as yourself.
2. Demanding acceptance from others as well as yourself.
3. Not allowing any negative talk from others as well as yourself about your body.
4. Not allowing others as well as yourself to compare your body with any other body.
5. Reminding others as well as yourself that your body is not a topic for discussion.
6. Reminding others as well as yourself that beauty is not just about appearances.
7. Surrounding yourself with positive people.
Boundaries in relationships can increase our awareness of our own needs and the needs of our partner, which can improve our relationship.
Within relationships, there are various different types of boundaries. These include physical boundaries, emotional boundaries, sexual boundaries, intellectual boundaries, and financial boundaries.
1. Physical boundaries are boundaries surrounding our body, privacy and personal space. For instance, if you’re uncomfortable with public displays of affection but your partner is not, you should let your partner know what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not comfortable with when it comes to public displays of affection.
2. Emotional boundaries are boundaries surrounding our feelings and our partner’s feelings. For instance, if you’re upset and need your partner to listen, but your partner tries to fix the situation for you, you should let your partner know that you just need to vent and that you need your partner to listen to you instead of trying to fix the situation.
3. Sexual boundaries are boundaries surrounding our expectations around physical intimacy. For instance, if your partner wants to try a new sexual act in the bedroom but you’re not comfortable with it, you should let your partner know what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not comfortable with in the bedroom.
4. Intellectual boundaries are boundaries surrounding our ideas and beliefs and our partner’s ideas and beliefs. For instance, if you try to express an idea or belief but you’re partner does not respect your idea or belief, you should let your partner know that you need them to understand that you can have different ideas or beliefs and they need to respect that.
5. Financial boundaries are boundaries surrounding money. For instance, if you want to save money but your partner wants to spend it, you should talk to your partner about how much money you’re comfortable with spending and how much money you want to save.
Holiday Boundaries Around Food
Food is an integral part of culture and history. It is a way for families to build a sense of community and belongingness, especially during holidays.
But for those of us who are trying to stay healthy, holidays can be really scary!
Rejecting food during holidays is difficult as it can be seen as offensive not only to the person who prepared it, but also to the culture and history. However, setting boundaries around food during holidays can allow you to enjoy the holiday.
To do that, it is important to :
1. Have internal clarity about your wants and needs around food during holidays.
2. Plan the conversation you are going to have with others about your wants and needs around food during holidays.
3. Prepare yourself for surprises.
4. Be ready to move on.
Setting boundaries around holiday eating can also ensure your emotional wellness.
You can do this by :
1. Visualizing in advance! Ask yourself ‘What can you expect from the holiday event?’, ‘How do you want to during the holiday event?’, ‘What can you do differently in order to feel the way you want to during the holiday event?’
2. Deciding for yourself! Ask yourself ‘Do you want to go to the holiday event?’, ‘Can you skip the holiday event?’
3. Saying no to diet talk! Ask yourself ‘Can you ignore the diet talk?’, ‘How can you practice positive self-talk when you hear the diet talk?’, ‘How can you change the subject when someone brings up the diet talk?’, ‘Can you walk away from the diet talk?’
4. Respecting your hunger and fullness cues! Ask yourself ‘Are you hungry after you finish your food?’, ‘Are you feeling full after finishing your food?’
5. Socializing! Ask yourself ‘Is there someone you haven’t seen in a long time?’, ‘Is there someone who has been going through a tough time?’, Is there someone you share common interests with?
Setting boundaries can be difficult due to fears, ambivalence, low self-worth, wanting to people-please, or for any other reason. However, it is essential to set boundaries in order to improve our relationship with ourselves as well as others.