Yoga teaches us to be patient and content with, first and foremost, ourselves. Most of the time we are more tolerant with other people than we are with ourselves – we are more loving and forgiving with other people. Oftentimes, however, our ability to be soft and understanding with other people turns against us, and what we thought was a loving relationship, in the end proves to be our inability to hold healthy boundaries. Such relationships usually don’t end well, and sooner or later, there’s more harm from the absence of boundaries, than there’s good.
How do you set healthy boundaries that are indeed healthy for everyone involved?
Understand the difference between boundaries and barriers
There’s a difference between boundaries and barriers. Boundaries allow us to define where we end and other people begin. Boundaries set “the rules of the game”, so to speak. Once the boundaries are set, you don’t need to question yourself again, you will know what is right and acceptable and what is not. Barriers, however, are constricting, defensive, limiting. There’s no need to create limits and be defensive if your boundaries are clear and everyone knows what’s expected from a relationship.
Healthy boundaries imply honesty. Being honest with yourself and others is the beginning of a healthy relationship. When boundaries are clear, you don’t need to make reality better than it already is.
Boundaries teach us to trust ourselves. Once you set the “rules” for a relationship you have to stick to your rules, no matter what other people say. Trust yourself that your decisions are worthy to stand up for.
Once the decision is set, let go of any second thought. Let go of doubt or expectations of other people. Know that your decisions shouldn’t be dictated by how people take them. Even if other people do not like your boundary rules, if you know that this is what you need in your life, let go of the temptation of changing your mind just because someone else has a different opinion.
People will always try to push your boundaries. It’s human nature. Just like a toddler loves his “no” game, we adults, also have our own ways of testing other people’s boundaries of how much we can get away with. Practice, practice, practice.
The more clarity you have in your life, the less time you will doubt yourself and the more time you will have to be loving towards yourself and others around you. Boundaries take a lot of effort and awareness (especially in the beginning), but once it becomes your second nature, you will notice more space, more contentment, more enjoyment and less drama in your life.