If your life is filled with more of what you don’t want and not enough of what you do want, it’s time to set your boundaries.
Boundaries define a person’s sense of self (i.e., who he or she is as an individual). Setting boundaries makes others feel safe around you and allows you to feel safe in your environment. It is a way to exhibit self-respect, thereby increasing the respect shown to you by others.
Help other people know how to treat you.
Define your sense of self.
Delineate how much you have to give of time, money or energy.
Are dividing lines between you and everyone else that represents both physical and emotional limits others may not violate.
Separate your needs, wants, desires, thoughts and feelings from others.
Setting and keeping your boundaries and honoring the boundaries of others are among the most challenging and confusing behaviors in relationships.
Boundaries are innate and natural to everyone. Each of you has your own internal indicator of when a boundary is being violated. A boundary, when crossed by others, will create intense feelings of anger, hurt or outrage inside you.
We learn to set boundaries to protect two different parts of Self:
- Boundaries for our Outside Self, which protect our body and control distance and touch
- Boundaries for our Inside Self, which act as filters or blocks to protect our thinking, feeling and behavior
Boundaries that protect our Outside Self can be violated by such actions as:
- Touching or standing too close without permission
- Intruding on a person’s privacy; for instance, walking into the bathroom or bedroom without knocking, or getting into another’s personal possessions without permission
Boundaries that protect our Inside Self can be violated by such actions as:
- Yelling, screaming, name calling, ridiculing, lying, patronizing and sarcasm
- Negative control
- Unrealistic expectations
- Demanding one’s own way or point of view as the only choice
Take some time and ask yourself two important questions:
“What boundaries do I need to set?” “What boundaries are others asking me to honor?”
Remember, only YOU can make it happen!
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