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Take Control of Your Life and Set Healthy Boundaries – This Therapist Explains How

The creation of healthy boundaries is an incredibly powerful self-care tool. We all have people and situations in our lives that don’t quite feel right, and often drain us of our energies. For many, there is the belief that one needs to simply “put up with this” and carry on.

But here’s the truth . . . YOU DON’T HAVE TO.

Life is short, and time flies. We should be able to surround ourselves with people who lift us up, support us, inspire us, and love us, without strings attached.

The Importance of Setting Healthy Boundaries In Our Lives

Establishing healthy boundaries can be an incredibly empowering and liberating act of self-care. Letting go of toxic situations and people who negatively affect us can be scary and often confusing.

“Healthy boundaries are not walls. They are the gates and fences that allow you to enjoy the beauty of your own garden.” -Lydia H. Hall

Emotions like guilt and shame creep in, which is natural in a world that tells us that we have to put up with unwanted relationships and situations, but this could not be further from the truth. When we realize that we deserve better, we empower ourselves to change our life in monumental ways.
You deserve to be happy.
You deserve to be supported.
You deserve to be loved.
Intuitively you already know which people and situations in your life that do not make you feel happy, supported, and loved. You already have that wisdom in you – it’s simply a matter of clearly identifying it, making the decision to let it go and then following through.
So how does one begin? Baby steps. 🙂

Here Are 5 Steps to Set Healthy Boundaries For a Happier Life:

Setting healthy boundaries is like any habit – it takes effort at first, but once you get into the routine, it becomes second nature. Follow these five steps to decide where you need to set boundaries in your life, along with how to stick to them.

1. Get Clear

It’s often easier to let go of situations (vs. people) which no longer resonate with you. So this week, give yourself some time to reflect, and perhaps journal about, the situation(s) that no longer feels right, feels good, to you and to your soul.

2. Let It Go

Once you have gained clarity on the situation(s), take the first step in letting it go. For example, say you attend a weekly activity (i.e. sports, happy hour, etc.) that no longer feels right to you and for just this week, don’t attend. Let it go and see how that makes you feel.

3. Check In

It is important to check in to see how you feel. Do you feel better? Relieved? Guilty? Guilt will often creep in because we think we should just “deal with it,” but if something does not feel right to you, then you should definitely Let. It. Go.
If you feel better because you are setting a new and healthy boundary, you are on the right track! It’s taking these small steps that allows you to slow down, tap in, and authentically gauge whether a person or situation is serving you or bringing you down.


4. Stick With It

Once you have determined whom or what you want to let go of, stick with it. Do not let guilt take over, if it no longer resonates with you, trust this feeling, and let it go fully.
This in and of itself is setting new healthy boundaries, allowing yourself, your surroundings, your life, to clearly see, hear, and feel what you will and will not allow into your life.

5. Be Patient and Gentle With Yourself

Patience and being gentle with yourself are essential ingredients as you adjust to these new healthy boundaries. When guilt or doubt that you have done the right thing arises, remember to tune into why you chose to let it go in the first place.
Breathe through the discomfort and trust that this is for the betterment of you!

Take Control of Your Life With Self-Care and Healthy Boundaries

Like everything, establishing healthy boundaries will become easier with practice. Try letting go of or setting healthy boundaries in situations first, and then move onto people. With practice, letting go of all that no longer resonates with you will come easier.
I will not sugar coat this and say that it is straightforward or effortless. Many emotions will arise; people will take offense. But this is for the betterment of YOU, and you deserve to be happy, you deserve to be surrounded by the people who support you and to do the things that light you up!
The people who understand this are the ones to keep! And I will tell you this, in the long-term it becomes easier to be with the people who lift you up.
The creation of healthy boundaries is not a selfish act. It is necessary act of self-care for you to thrive. As a final gentle reminder throughout this process please, please be gentle with yourself.

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Alexandria Hotmer

Alexandria Hotmer PsyD is a doctor of clinical psychology and created Autumn & Fig as a resource and platform for all things self-care. She and her husband, artist Sean Kelley, provide their audience with new, easy-to-use self-care tools for anyone who is overwhelmed, overworked, and seeking inner peace.

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