Setting healthy boundaries – Your path to more personal freedom

What exactly is a boundary?

“Guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.”

That’s a bit of a mouth full when we think about how to implement it into our personal life, isn’t it. But it sounds actually much bigger than it might be in reality. Once we actually have identified what the reasonable, sage and permissible ways are. And that of course is a very personal and individual decision to make. Problem is, most people never think about it and therefor never make that decision, but rather complain and whinge about people “intruding their personal space” in one way or another.

 

What happens without boundaries?

Fact is that when others don’t know what your personal space is, what your boundaries are, how are they supposed to respect them? Fact often is also, that we don’t respect our own personal boundaries ourselves although we might know them. But what we don’t respect ourselves we cannot expect others to respect, right?

So the question is, why don’t we respect our boundaries which then of course leads to not expressing them to our environment? Mostly is is simply due to wanting to be liked, or even loved. And we think if we do whatever other people want us to do or need us to do then they will like/love us more. But the truth is that we actually hand power over to others we really should hold in our own hands and also we become less “attractive” to others because they feel like they can just do whatever they want to and with us which ultimately leads to a very unhealthy relationship and certainly to less and less self esteem and confidence.

That is when we feel like people are just overstepping us, we are overlooked when it comes to promotions in the job, we get bullied easier because we don’t defend ourselves but instead just keep quiet out of fear to make matters worse. Can you see the downward spiral?

And when we set boundaries?

What happens if we start setting our boundaries clearly and stick to them? We start ensuring relationships are mutually respectful, supportive and caring. Boundaries set the limits for acceptable behavior from those around you, determining whether they feel able to put you down, make fun, or take advantage of your good nature. Just think of that person at school that never got bullied or was always listened to, even followed. that person surely set clear boundaries and others were respecting not only those but also the person setting them.

but how do I do re-set my boundaries you might ask. Well here are a few tips to start with:

Your ‘Five Things’ Needs

  • List five things you’d like people to stop doing around you, for example, criticizing absent colleagues
  • List five things you want people to stop doing to you, for example, being rude or inconsiderate, or ignoring you
  • List five things that people may no longer say to you, for example, “you always give up” or “you’ll never get promoted”

Once you have written them down, practice saying them out loud, imagining the person you say it to being in front of you.

Note the emotions coming up and realise why it is you are having such difficulties setting clear boundaries. this is your clue into changes you need to make, work you might have to do on yourself in order to become effective and efficient with your boundaries and the positive effect of them. Once you learn to set your boundaries and maintain them you will realise that you are feeling much freer to do what you need to do, to express yourself and to respect yourself. With that your personality will grow and you become much more confident and self-loving which in turn will have a positive effect on others liking/loving you. Remember? That’s what you wanted in the first place by not setting boundaries. But it didn’t work. So it really is time to start setting those healthy boundaries and when you need support you know you can call me 🙂

Until then, have fun re-setting your boundaries

Barbara

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