When someone hears the word boundaries they have a few different reactions.
“I don’t want to live my life with limits!”
“I need to work on that…”
When I hear boundaries, I light up! My response is, “Let’s talk!”
I am by no means a master of boundaries, but I have been learning more each year while counseling.
Boundaries is one of those topics that makes people feel out of control or less than.
When someone tells you that you need to improve an aspect of yourself what is your response? “Oh wonderful! I wanted to know how imperfect I was today!” Probably not. We are all different. Some people stray away from healthy criticism and others lean towards it.
The thing about boundaries is it takes someone who has boundaries to realize that you do not. So with that said, there are many out there who will still believe that you are “perfect”. But for the others who pursue personal growth you may have to work harder to convince them. You may even have to create some boundaries to continue your illusion.
So back to our topic question, why are boundaries important? Boundaries have two main functions.
First, they define who we are. Boundaries show what we are and what we are not, what we agree on and what we do not agree on. It also shows a clear example of what we love and what we hate.
Secondly, boundaries protect us. We set boundaries so that we can keep good things in and bad things out. When our limits are not clear and direct we expose ourselves to unhealthy, toxic experiences and people.
So…do you have bad boundaries? Let’s take a quick quiz.
Question 1: Do you go against personal values or rights in order to please others?
Question 2: Do you let others define who you are?
Question 3: Do you expect others to fulfill your needs?
Question 4: Do you feel guilty when you say “NO”?
Question 5: Do you hesitate to speak up if you disagree with someone or something?
Question 6: Do you stand up for yourself if you are being treated poorly?
Question 7: Do you share too much too soon?
Question 8: Do you rush getting to know someone?
Question 9: Are you afraid of people leaving you?
Answer Key: Yes = Y No = N
Bad boundaries: 1. Y 2. Y 3. Y 4. Y 5. Y 6. N 7. Y 8. Y 9. Y
Good boundaries: 1. N 2. N 3. N 4. N 5. N 6. Y 7. N 8. N 9. N
How’d you do? Despite whatever category you ended up in, we can all use some work.
Here are some helpful guidelines for setting boundaries.
1. Boundaries are for you and only you! You can not impose your boundaries on others, or force others to set their own boundaries.
2. Boundaries are meant to be a positive addition not a negative one.
3. Boundaries should be clear and direct.
4. Boundaries should be flexible, and they can be different for each level of relationships. (stranger, acquaintance, friends, coworkers, family, best friends, and spouses)
5. Boundaries should be balanced and realistic, not extreme and unattainable.
6. You must stand up for your boundaries because no one else will!
Here’s to a wonderful 2014.
Be Blessed and Happy Boundary Setting!