Importance of Setting Boundaries

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One thing that I have always struggled with is setting boundaries. I was too busy with being concerned about people liking me and avoiding conflict. Now that I’m self-reflecting, I have realized now more than ever how essential setting boundaries are. Not only does it help prevent conversations that make you uncomfortable, but it also keeps your privacy to yourself. The fewer people that know your business, the less likely you have to worry about information getting out. I came up with four steps to help with setting new boundaries within your relationships.

Decide Which Boundaries to Set
Before you can set boundaries, you need to determine what your limits need to be. Get a pen and paper to write down your limits and to whom each category represents. For example, finances and dating are off-limits to parents for discussion. Follow this exercise for others, such as friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. Doing this will help with oversharing information as well. Conversations should be a dance, and if it’s turning into a solo act, you’re sharing too much. Having boundaries will help you with not sharing details before it’s safe to do so.

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Start Implementation of Your Boundaries
Now here comes the fun part of implementing the new boundaries that you set. It won’t be easy at first, but people will learn to adjust over time. You will most likely get backlash from folks closest to you but stick with it. People who love you will respect your boundaries after some time. Start with someone who will be least resistant to your limits. That will give you the confidence to continue down this new path. Don’t give up easily if people start to provide you with a hard time. People will try to see how far they can go, but enforcing your boundaries will let them that’s not possible.

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Continue to Reinforce Your Boundaries
The best way to keep people on board with your boundaries is to continue to enforce them. Once someone tries to overstep, you have to shut it down immediately. Also, people need to know there are consequences to their actions. For example, if you told someone that dating was off-limits and they continue to push, the result is that they don’t get to speak with you. I understand that sounds harsh, but you have to put your foot down. People need to respect the boundaries you have set forth. However, if you don’t consistently enforce your limits, people will walk all over you. You have to be intentional for people to understand why your boundaries are vital for them to follow.

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Reassess Your Boundaries as Needed
As life changes, so should your boundaries. There may be new topics to add or old ones to remove. Whichever way it goes, continue to reevaluate your boundaries. Make sure you do this often to avoid conflict when a topic comes up that you weren’t expecting. For example, a newly married couple will receive unsolicited advice from different people. It can even become overwhelming at times. When a new life event like this occurs, your boundaries need to include it. That way, people will understand that every new life event is not up for discussion. If you do decide to share, it will be your choice to do so.

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Setting boundaries can sound scary if you never did it before. It can seem like a difficult undertaking at first, but it’s worth it in the end. I recently started implementing boundaries, and it’s working out great. I’m not forcing myself to discuss or do things I’m not necessarily comfortable doing. The beautiful thing about boundaries is that it helped me improve my self-care and improve my overall mental health. Boundaries are helpful because it sets expectations of what topics you will share and which ones are off-limits. Don’t look at it as a bad thing, but something beneficial in the long run.

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Be sure to check out the discussion questions below before you go, and I’ll chat with you in the next blog.

Do you have boundaries set up? What type of challenges did you face while implementing your limits? 

Dating Challenges

Getting back to dating after years of single hood can be somewhat of a challenge especially if you spent many years coming and going as you please. Once you’re in a relationship those dynamics quickly change and you have to embrace having a partner in your life. I felt vigorous about writing this post because I am currently experiencing this now. One of my dating prospects stated that he was concerned about my ability to include someone in my life. I have been independent for so long that it’s something he will keep in the back of his mind. Honestly, I was a bit shocked to hear this, but at the same time, I appreciate the sincerity. It was time for me to reflect on how I am presenting myself and what I could be saying as well. The messages that I’m putting across could be giving mixed signals that I didn’t anticipate. I would be saying I’m available and unavailable at the same time. That is not what I want, so I need to make some changes in this area. I had to set down with myself and examine what I could be exuding out to others.

The first mixed signal I was giving off was not wanting to give up on my current routine. I am a creature of habit. I would get off work, do my typical after work rituals and be okay with that. However, when you’re dating it is essential to learn to compromise. That is the first example of compromising that many people miss entirely. If you can’t compromise with making time to meet up for dates, then it’s not a good indication of starting a relationship. In my mind, I would instead make time when I’m not exhausted from work as I want to make a good impression. The other person doesn’t view it that way and thinks I’m not interested in dating. I prefer to plan dates on the weekend and days when I don’t have to work. On those days I’m more alert and present. Now I understand that this doesn’t come across the way I think it should. It’s a better idea to explain a little more about your thought process. Some jobs are more demanding than others so maybe dates during the week won’t work. It’s best to communicate and find ways to compromise that works best for everyone. Otherwise, people will come up with their own opinions, and it can impact a potential relationship.

Another mixed signal is that my plate is full in life and that I don’t have room for a partner. When my dates ask what my interests are I thought it was a great thing that I have so many things that I like. To my surprise, I come across as having too much going on and not enough room for a relationship. I even had one guy tell me that I come across as too independent and he doesn’t know what role a man could play in my life. I had male friends tell me that men like to feel needed and if that doesn’t occur they typically will not entertain a relationship. Now that I’ve been made aware of it I try my best to make sure to state that I want to incorporate my hobbies and interest with my partner. That way potential suitors don’t feel left out and that I don’t want to intertwine my life with theirs. Dating is all about could you see yourself potentially with someone, and if they aren’t presenting themselves as a candidate, it’s a turnoff. In the future, I need to be more mindful of what I’m saying as not to scare off my soulmate.

The last mixed signal is related to communication styles and being adaptive to them. In my current job, I talk a lot and often for the whole day. Of course, once I get home, I want to take a break and not be on the phone. Depending on the day I had I will want to talk more than other days. However, when you’re dating someone or trying to get to know someone communication is essential. The problem I have is at times I don’t want to be on the phone for hours. I struggle with trying to get someone to understand that because they take it as I’m not interested in them. Then I’ll try to speak with them anyway when I didn’t want to talk, and it sets a wrong impression. I try to explain why but sometimes they believe I’m making excuses not to communicate.

Another thing is adapting to the need for video chatting. I noticed many guys love to do it, but it’s cumbersome at times. Who wants to hold the phone for hours? I get it especially with online dating people want to make sure they aren’t involved in a catfish situation. However, there should be a compromise between video chat, texting and phone calls. Depending on someone’s day it can be easier to use another form of communication. I feel that I adapt pretty well to other people’s communication style even though I don’t always feel the same in return. I need to do a better job of explaining the nature of my career, so guys don’t think I’m blowing them off. I may have experienced a long day at work, and I feel like being in a mood to text only, and then tomorrow we can video chat. I have to do a better job of setting expectations around communication and compromising more often.

Dating already comes with its’ set of challenges as you learn to adapt to the other person’s expectations. You also have to be open and honest about what you’re expecting as well. Communication is vital as it solves about 90% of the problems that people face today. To overcome challenges, you must pay attention when they come up and correct them. Even though to you it may not be a bad thing but it comes across differently to other people. Be mindful of what you’re putting out there and if that has anything to do with the results that you’re experiencing. If you notice that the results in dating are less than stellar, then its time to self reflect. You could be doing things without even realizes it, and that could be hurting your chances for a relationship.

What are some of your dating challenges and how did you overcome them?

Improving Your Romantic Outlook

You should treat others the way you want them to treat you. If you want people to be honest with you, then you should do the same in return. If you don’t want to be hurt by others, then you shouldn’t do the same. It always amazes me how people are so quick to play the victim role but can’t accept the responsibility they play within their demise. For example, if I keep having bad relationships with men at some point, I need to reevaluate within myself why I keep attracting these type of men. I can make a general statement saying that all men are evil when it’s my horrible choices that are leading me to that conclusion. There is the segue to my topic of this blog post about continuously picking the wrong partners to date. I’m not calling anyone out as I have been guilty of it myself, but once you know better, you will do better. The first step of moving on from any situation is learning to treat the disease and not just the symptoms.

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The first thing I want you to consider is how you view yourself. Never mind how others feel about you but how do you feel about yourself? Do you put yourself down and call yourself terrible names? Understand that you are hurting yourself when you do this. Having negative thoughts about yourself can subconsciously be exuded externally and keep you from attracting the mate you want. Then others will start to feel the same way, and you will become less attractive as a result of that. Nothing is sexier than a person who has confidence within themselves and believes they are the best thing since sliced bread. I’m not saying be a jerk about it, but you have to have a strong sense of self if you want to attract someone of a higher caliber. You can’t believe you are worthless and then expect a potential suitor to think differently. Since self-esteem is an internal issue, you have to make sure you work through any of those issues before getting into a relationship. Nobody can correct this but you. Seek counseling if necessary but work through this immediately. The more broken relationships your experience, the more of a beating your self-esteem will take.

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As you grow within your career and personally your dating life should reflect that. Often we get comfortable within certain social circles because that is what we have always known. However, once you start to grow those areas that once interested you, unfortunately, do change. There’s nothing wrong with this, but nobody tells us nor prepares us for the transition to come. You most likely complain and I know I have about the lack of options out there. The conclusion I came up with is I’m looking for love in the same places I always have. The areas I’m frequenting I won’t find a professional man there so who is really to blame for my situation. You can’t do the same things you always did and expect a different result. You have to expand your options, and yes attend that networking event your friends have been trying to invite you to for months. You have to step outside your comfort zone if you want to meet Mrs. or Mr. Right.

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I hear people say and myself included that I want a man to drive XYZ and work within a particular field. Guess what? The things I was asking for I didn’t even have myself. It’s important to make sure the things you want in a partner are things you can provide as well. I think it’s unrealistic to demand your partner to a higher standard, but you don’t have the same demands on yourself. I took the time to soul-search and prepared myself for when my husband finally arrives. If the right person walked into the room right now would you be ready for that person? If you can’t honestly say yes, then you have work to do. It’s a corny saying, but you have to be the partner that you want. Remember everything you are looking for someone else wants the same. If you are unable to provide those same qualities, then you will continue to date the wrong people. Don’t look at your single hood as a bad thing. Use that time to self-reflect on becoming a better you. Once the right person comes along, you will be more than ready for your last relationship.

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Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. Please share on social media and with your friends/family.

Until next time,

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