Healthy boundaries are critical in all areas of life, such as work endeavors, relationships, diet and nutrition, exercise, and more. For those in recovery from addiction, healthy boundaries are especially important because if a person does not have them, relapse could be right around the corner. If you grew up in a dysfunctional home, you may have been deprived of the support that you needed to develop appropriate self-respect and self-confidence. Many who have been raised in a dysfunctional family later become involved in addiction, crime, violence, and more. If you’re unsure of how to establish healthy boundaries, there are many ways that you can implement this, and it all takes practice:
- Distinguish healthy boundaries from unhealthy ones. People who do not establish healthy boundaries often go against their values, go unheard, feel guilty when they say “no”, feel pressured to take others’ advice, and more. Create a list of unhealthy boundaries so that you know what to avoid.
- Create a road map for your own values, beliefs, and feelings. Write down what is important to you. What do you believe? What are your values? What are you allowed to feel? Give yourself that permission to feel however you are feeling. Establish a personal “Bill of Rights” that you can sign and hang up in your room if you need to.
- Establish limits for yourself and what you can tolerate from others. Identify what you can and cannot tolerate from others, and give yourself permission to say “no” to yourself and others if something comes up that go against your values, beliefs, and feelings.
- Assert your needs. Tell others when you need help. Ask questions if you aren’t sure.
- Listen to your gut. If a situation doesn’t feel right, leave. This is a wonderful way to build trust with yourself on your instincts.
- Defend your boundaries, and respect others’ boundaries as well. If you find someone questioning your boundaries, stand up for them. They are you, and you deserve respect. Conversely, respect others’ boundaries if a situation takes them against their values.
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