By Grace Kim, Resident in Counseling
For many of us, building boundaries is a relatively new and challenging concept. Boundaries are essential to healthy relationships and a healthy life. Creating and preserving boundaries is a skill that not many of us learn.
Here are five ways to build better boundaries and maintain them:
- Tune into your feelings—There are 2 key feelings that are, arguably, red flags or cues that we are letting go of our boundaries: discomfort and resentment. Next time you’re in a situation or interaction with someone, think of these feelings on a scale of one to ten (six to ten being the higher end of the continuum). If you are on the higher end ask yourself, “What is causing that? What is it about this situation or person’s expectation that is bothering me?”
- Name your limits—Identify your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual limits. What you can tolerate and accept and what makes you uncomfortable.
- Give yourself permission—Boundaries are a sign of self-respect. Set and enforce boundaries without the fear of the other person’s response.
- Be direct—With some people, it is not necessary to be direct and clear-cut in order to maintain healthy boundaries. With others who have a different personality or cultural background, a more direct approach may be necessary.
- Make self-care a priority—This involves giving yourself permission to put yourself first. When we do this, our motivation to set boundaries become stronger. Self-care also means recognizing the importance of your feelings and work to understand them. When we’re in a better place, we can be a better wife, mother, husband, co-worker, partner or friend.
About Grace: Grace Kim is a Resident in Counseling providing services at the Woodbridge location and is a Qualified Mental Health Professional for Children (QMHP-C) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Grace received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Master of Arts Degree with high honors in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from South University.
With extensive experience in providing outpatient counseling services to children, adolescents and young adults, she also has sufficient experience working with adult clients with longstanding substance abuse issues. She is an individual who has had her own share of mental health challenges and with the help of those around her, she has been able to overcome obstacles and barriers in her life. Grace believes she is still growing, learning and in some ways, healing and wants to work with individuals to provide the hope and support she was given in her darkest times. Grace recognizes the barriers and restrictions that minority cultures often face when dealing with mental health issues. It is Grace’s passion to work with such individuals of various minority backgrounds to confront these challenges and experience breakthrough and acceptance. Grace is ready and willing to work with you or your child to explore any latent issues and improve your daily functioning in a healthy way. To learn more about Grace, visit HERE.