Setting Clear Boundaries
Whether with family, friends or, in my case, cuddle clients, it is very important to set clear boundaries. The necessity to assert yourself is incredibly important as it sets the tone of those you are interacting and dealing with. Through identify and understand you limits you then can create healthy boundaries that you can feel good about with out fear of guilt.
1. Know Thyself
Take time for a little introspection. It’s practically impossible to build honest boundaries if you’re unsure of your breaking point or limits. Reflect on your point or limits. Reflect on your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual self. Consider situations you’ve experienced and how they made you feel. Was it positive or negative?
2. Explore Your Experiences
If you’ve identified situational emotions leaving you feeling uncomfortable or resentful, then your limits could have been violated or someone may have crossed your boundaries. Take a look back at your past. Where you raised in a way which you did were not allowed to have an opinion? Have you always placed more importance on being liked than your own needs?
It’s unfair to assume everyone shares the same approach to life as we all possess different personalities and cultural backgrounds. That is why it is imperative to be direct when pertaining to your boundaries. I believe the proper way to communicate is by challenging someone’s opinions through sharing my own. However, some deem that disrespectful, rude and in turn creates a tense environment. However, if your general approach to life is similar then the “boundaries discussion” is unnecessary. As a pro cuddler, the discussion is always in dialogue the most important part of being a cuddler and holding space.
4. Allow It
There are many cultures and social situations where people deem themselves less than; thus, not enforcing their boundaries. Asian cultures are taught not to argue or challenge authority. I had a friend in high school whose parents MADE her join the Army even though she had absolutely no desire to do so, but did it because in her culture, that is what was expected of her. Women in society are supposed to be agreeable, nice and not to make a fuss or their considered a “bitch” or some other name showing negativity for opinion.
I attended a Cuddle Party and when I was discussing my opinion of the word “no” when pertaining to consent, a woman sitting next to me said “Well that is rude and could hurt someone’s feelings and I was taught better manners than that.” I explained the different forms and ways of saying no such as “Not right now” or “I’m not sure. Check in with me later” or even “Although incredibly flattered no thanks you.” All suggested nos are polite and gives you time to feel yourself out. However, the woman said she was not going to reject anyone and was sticking to her guns.
Do not allow fear, guilt or self-doubt cripple your right to healthy boundaries. Not only does it show your self-respect but also will not leave you feeling drained and taken advantage of.
5. You Do You
Important to consider self-care. It is such a HOT term right now. Self-Care means making sure your needs are being met through taking time for yourself. If you are not being good to yourself, how can you be good to anyone else. If you create a positive interior, you’ll exude a positive exterior.
6. Where is Your Tribe
Who do you trust and feel you can talk to about issues, situations, feelings and frustrating emotions you are dealing with? I feel I have a phenomenal tribe, which spans the country, and I’m so lucky to bounce ideas off them and get honest feedback and constructive criticism. Your tribe could be a trusted friend, counselor, coach, family member or therapist.
7. Practice Makes Perfect
Practice setting boundaries through role-play and ask your partner to keep you accountable. If you are struggling with a friend who is always late practice having a conversation with them about how it makes you feel. If your significant other has a wondering eye practice having a clam discussion about what that makes you think of and how it affects you. If your boss consistently gives you projects you are not comfortable doing practice the discussion with alternative suggestions. If you have a client who does not respect the stated boundaries then practice having the conversation with them about why they believe they are the exception to the rule where that mindset stems from.
I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and considerations down below in the comments. Also, please share your own experiences of setting boundaries and sticking to them. Who is and how have people challenged your limits? What were your trials and triumphs in setting boundaries? How often do you preform check-ins to verify your boundaries are still working for you?