Examine What You Tolerate ~ Unknown

 

Just as borders define the separation between countries, personal boundaries are the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual fences you erect around yourself that define who you are and communicate what is okay and not okay in your interactions with others.

Boundaries are the necessary rules you set that keep you safe and give you the ability to say ‘no’ to incompatible, external demands. Strong yet flexible boundaries help you maintain a sense of well-being by preserving your integrity and safeguarding against manipulation from others.

Well-balanced boundaries also allow you to reach out to others and lovingly connect.

Your boundaries may need attention if

  • You say yes to a request when you really mean no and you feel guilty about it.
  • You sacrifice your values in order to please others and feel accepted. (Has someone’s conversation ever made you uncomfortable and you said nothing?)
  • You do not stop abuse or mistreatment toward you.
  • You allow physical touch or sex when you don’t want it.
  • You let another person’s wants or needs distract you or take precedence over your activities.
  • You over-deliver in order to feel needed and useful.
  • You become involved in another’s problems without being invited.
  • You cannot make a distinction between what is your stuff and what is not. (Have you ever ‘caught’ your spouse’s bad mood?)
  • You do not express your emotional needs in intimate relationships.

Unhealthy boundaries generate many unwanted side effects and can attract disrespectful, controlling or needy people into your life who will take advantage of your accommodating nature. The core reason for having weak boundaries is often driven by the fear and belief that you are unlovable, not worthy or not enough. This false insecurity inspires you to put out immense efforts to please others that can generate exhaustion and health issues from the resulting burn-out and stress.

 

Drawing your line in the sand…How to Set Boundaries

  • Accept you have a right to establish personal boundaries and that they are vital for healthy self-esteem.
  • Ask yourself and journal the answers to these questions:
    • How have I been allowing others to take advantage of me?
    • What situations am I accepting that don’t feel right?
    • What will I no longer tolerate in people’s interactions with me?
    • What is important to me? What really matters?
  • Become comfortable with uncomfortable communication and hold the desire for respectful, supportive people to be in your life.
  • Commit to saying ‘no’ when you mean ‘no’. Promise yourself that you will follow through on your choice – do not retract your decision.
  • Set your personal rules and practice the conversation to have when your boundaries are crossed. Make it kind yet firm.
  • Look at where your behaviours might be crossing boundaries of others. Become aware of your inappropriate patterns of interaction and take steps to change them.

 ‘No.’ is a complete sentence ~ Anne Lamott

How Boundaries Change Your Life

Well-defined boundaries are the foundation of your inner joy and peace. They let you off the hook for being all things to all people and teach you that selfishness can be a sacred, life-affirming state of being.

Exercising boundaries also releases fear, grows self-esteem and encourages a healthy sense of your empowered self because they help your define and defend your values and integrity.

As you develop greater awareness of your own limits, you can freely be more flexible in your interactions with others. When you know your boundaries, you can confidently reach out, be more compassionate in supporting others, feel less anger or frustration in relationships, and trust that your choices will be aligned with who you are and what supports your safety and growth.

Learning to establish and live within the parameters of your chosen boundaries is a process that takes time and patience to develop. Setting limits with those who are accustomed to your complete attention to their needs will create some stormy, uncomfortable moments but, in the end, the efforts are well worth the outcomes.

You don’t owe anyone an interaction. ~ Carolyn McGraw

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