We set boundaries to define our territory, to protect our space- physically, emotionally, mentally, sexually, spiritually and financially. We set a boundary because it is what we need to do for our self, to protect and take care of our self.
· If we have no boundaries we may fall into victim mentality where we feel sorry for ourselves and feel as if people always take advantage of our ‘nice personalities’. As victims we may suppress feelings,avoid conflict, or allow resentment to build up until we close ourselves off. We may tell lies so that others don’t judge us. We give in too easily, and have a need to please others. Instead of confronting the person who hurt us we either vent to someone close to us or keep quiet (to keep the peace) about the issue that’s bugging us.
· If we have no boundaries we may also fall into an aggressive mentality. We infringe the rights of others, we also have poor self esteem (as with the victims), we’re overly expressive, create enemies,authoritarian, shout and scream until we get own way and blame others for our situation. When confronted we are reactive, sarcastic, hurtful to others, abusive and undignified. We need to control the situation so that it doesn’t hurt us.
· A person that has boundaries is assertive. They gain more respect from others as they in return are respectful. They have a high self esteem, they make great leaders, they are decisive and make healthy choices. They choose the right time and place to discuss difficult matters and when they do this they allow others to open up and they do not judge them, they in turn open up and discuss the issue from their point of view. This allows for healthier and closer relationships. They are proactive; they will go directly to the person that has offended them and speak about it.
· If we are in a victim or aggressive mentality we are going to attract more of what we are, we will have people show up in our lives who feel sorry for themselves or who are hostile. We need to recognize when we are attracting these types of people and change our ways so that we can attract stronger, more self confident individuals. (watch the movie The Secret)
· Avoiding setting boundaries to keep the peace enables others to remain unhealthy.
· If we stop reacting to others’ anger, this will set a boundary, we need to leave them alone to deal with it. Remain centered and calm, like the eye in a storm. We do not have to put up with their emotional outbursts, their out of control ego.
· People that lack boundaries take too much responsibility for others feelings and decisions. When boundaries are put up, some relationships may not survive because when you stop taking responsibility for their moods and behaviors they may not be able to handle it. In these cases they may not be able to accept responsibility for themselves. Rather lose an unhealthy relationship than lose yourself in the process of trying to keep it.
· Without boundaries we don’t know where we start and other people end, it is all enmeshed; it is then easy to give our power away to others. This will leave us feeling helpless, confused and drained. We take on their problems as if they were our own.
· Boundaries are about communication, letting others know what is acceptable and what is not. Drawing a line in the sand so that we both know where we stand. Saying no when something does not suit us. We need to be able to express to others when they are acting in ways that are not acceptable to us. We cannot expect them to read our minds and when they do something that we find unacceptable, we cut them off, punish them or give them the silent treatment.
· Self Respect: We show self respect when we set boundaries. The purpose of having boundaries is to protect and take care of ourselves. It is our responsibility for how we allow others to treat us. We need to learn to honour ourselves so that we can awaken to the need of having boundaries that let other people know that we deserve respect. Setting boundaries communicates to others that we have worth. If we do not respect ourselves then we will be more comfortable being involved with people who abuse usthan with people who treat us in a loving way.
We can then start exhibiting abusive behavior toward people who do not even abuse us.
· It is impossible to have a healthy relationship with someone who has no boundaries, with someone who cannot communicate directly and honestly.
· Once we have a more loving relationship with ourselves, everything changes; we naturally start to set boundaries with others.
· It is easier to set boundaries in relationships that don’t mean too much to us. It’s the ones that mean the most to us where it’s difficult to set boundaries. Our wounds from childhood often make us feel unworthy, defective, shameful and we become fearful of setting boundaries for fear that the person may leave.
· Start seeing ourselves as separate in a healthy way, not in an unhealthy/unworthy way.
· Boundaries are not walls to hide behind. Boundaries are healthy, walls are unhealthy. Boundaries are where we can still be open and loving toward others but where negativity, their perceptions, judgments and outbursts do not impact us. If we have created a wall then we are feeling resentful and blocked off which will impact us negatively.
· There are 3 parts to a boundary: The first 2 sets the boundary, the third is what we will do to defend that boundary. 1. If you…a description of the behavior we find unacceptable (be as descriptive as possible). 2. I will…a description of what action you will take to protect and take care of yourself in the event the other person violates the boundary. 3. If you continue this behavior…a description of what steps you will take to protect the boundary you have set.
Here is a rather extreme example…If you ever hit me, I will call the police and press charges and I willleave this relationship. If you continue to threaten me, I will get a restraining order and prepare to defend myself in whatever manner is necessary.
Sometimes only the first 2 parts are necessary. It is not enough to set the boundaries, it is necessary to be willing to do whatever it takes to enforce them. To be willing to go to any length to do whatever it takes to protect ourselves. Set consequences that you are ready to enforce, don’t state something that you are not ready to do. To set boundaries and not enforce them just gives the other person an excuse to continue in the same old behavior.
· At times, it may be little things that seem inconsequential that we need to set boundaries about. Irritating little mannerisms or habits of another person which will grow into big things unless we learn to communicate and negotiate. Swallowing irritations builds up resentments; these are victim feelings…that somebody is doing something to us.
· We always have a choice, the choice might seem awful- but in reality, allowing ourselves to buy into the illusion that we are trapped will send us deeper into victim mentality. Owning our choices no matter how outrageous they may seem, is a step in owning responsibility for being co-creators in our life. If we are blaming and being the victim we will never be happy.
· Reasons why we may feel uncomfortable setting boundaries…hurting other people; having other people be angry at us; being abandoned, losing the relationship, business or the job. People that are worth having around will change their behavior and start treating us with more respect. They will be able to hear us and value us enough to change their behavior.
· Energetic boundaries also need to be created. For e.g. Visualising a bubble of white light around us so that negativity or anything uninvited does not penetrate our energy field.
What score out of 10 would you give yourself with regards to setting boundaries?