Boundaries define a person’s territory, the space in which they feel safe. Physical boundaries define where a person ends and another person begins. Physical boundaries pertain to your personal space, privacy and body. Do you give a handshake or a hug, to whom and when; how do you feel about others taking your parking space; the neighbors load music; another driver blocking your way;
Material boundaries determine whether you give or loan things, such as your money, car, cloths, books or laptop…Mental boundaries apply to your thoughts, opinions and values, whether you can hold onto your opinions; are you open minded to listen to someone else’s without being rigid; A similar principal applies to emotional boundaries, spiritual, financial, physical and intellectual boundaries and territory.
Healthy boundaries prevent you from attacking, blaming others or accepting blame and attacks. They protect you from feeling guilty for someone else’s negative feelings or problems and taking others comments personally. When you have healthy emotional boundaries, then you have a good understanding of your feelings and responsibilities to yourself and others.
You should be able to say “no” without feeling guilty or manipulated. You will find that the more you resist expressing boundaries the more you will attract circumstances which reinforce the fear of setting boundaries.
Good personal boundaries protect you. Without them life feels scary and you may experience anxiety, fear, take care of the needs of others and take on extra responsibility. Having a sense of boundaries and limits also helps you to connect with your true self. They are based on your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, decisions, choices, wants, needs, and intuitions. They are healthy, clear, and strong, they work for you and you always flexible depending on your needs.
Setting boundaries is a declaration of who you are, what you are willing to do or not to do and how you want to be treated in relationships. The kind of boundaries you set shows how much you respect yourself and shows others how you want to be respected and treated in relationships.
Setting healthy strong boundaries that work for you, is directly related to the awareness of your feelings, belief system, needs, values. Often sabotaging limiting beliefs due to understanding shame, low – self esteem or lack of worthiness, setting clear boundaries and keeping them turns out to be impossible.
Boundaries are learned in your upbringing in the family and through childhood. May be you didn’t learn you had boundaries or rights, if yours weren’t valued growing up. If boundaries in life have been violated or disrespected then it might be that for you expressing boundaries will only result in rejection, abandonment, abuse, pain, punishment… In some cases boundaries violations affects a Childs ability to mature into an independent, responsible adult.
If you don’t know what your emotional and physical boundaries are, how are you going to express them and expect others to recognise them?
Boundaries are tough. Infants don’t have boundaries until they are taught. The way boundaries are introduced sets their foundation for their understanding of boundaries. As a child, there is no awareness as to whether a boundary is good or bad.
You might not believe you have any rights if yours weren’t respected growing up. For example you have a right to privacy, to say “no”, to be addressed with courtesy and respect, to make changes in your life, to cancel commitments, not to answer the phone, to ask peple you hire to work the way you want.
Internal boundaries regulate your relationship with yourself. People are continuously forming and reforming their boundaries based on their life experiences. Painful or unpleasant experience may lead you to avoid moving beyond certain boundaries. Positive feedback empowers a person to move forward for more experiences.
By Eliana Eleftheriou