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Boundaries with loved ones (Holiday Edition)

The holidays + family time come with their own unique stressors + vulnerability to reverting back to older versions of ourselves. Boundaries help us to sustain our well-being + maintain healthy relationships + closeness with others.

In some of our families, boundaries could have been non-existent or very rigid, depending on how the family formed to function + operate as a system.

When we come back together (as is the case for holiday celebrations) we may feel the internal pressure to conform back into that same way of operating.

It’s important that you take moments to reflect on what you need, emotions, what your limits are, + the internal stories, so you can have a better idea + material to then communicate with.

Here are some statements you can use to set your boundaries with loved ones:

“I can help you with this and that’s all I’m available for.”

“What I really need right now is listening + comfort. I’m not open to solutions or advice at this time.”

“I’m open to negotiating what the task is, but I’m only able to give 2 hours on Wednesday.”

“Thank you for thinking about me. I’m going to pass on the offer.”

“You made all this amazing food, thank you. I’m tuning into my level of hunger and I’m feeling complete right now.”

“I’m noticing that the topic is bringing up tension in the room + isn’t going anywhere. I’d love it if we could shift the conversation to something we could all connect over.”

“It would feel really good to me if we could turn the TV off + play game together. Would you be open to that?”

“I’m needing some rest + solo decompression time, so I’m going to go for a walk. I’ll be back in 1 hour.”

“It looks like both of our experiences of the situation aren’t translating to meet one another right now. Let’s take a break + talk about it again in 2 hours.”

Tips for speaking your boundaries:

  • Know your ideal outcome.

  • Know your limits.

  • Know the point that you can negotiate (without self-sacrificing).

  • Identify what the story you’re telling yourself about the situation/self/other is.

  • When you speak it, own your own experience using ”I”.

  • Remember boundaries are what YOU do, not what we expect another to do.

  • Boundaries are a form of love.

  • Boundaries can be difficult to set with loved ones, and they support maintaining healthy closeness.

It is important to remember that there might still be conflict. Even arguments. This is where empathy and compassion for everyone involved in your social circles are crucial.

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