“The most important distinction anyone can ever make in their life is between who they are as an individual and their connection with others.” ― Anné Linden
Boundaries are necessary. Imagine a map of the world with no defined delineations from one country, state, province, city, or town on it…what a mess!
Without boundaries, it is easy to overextend ourselves or do things we don’t want to do. In the end, our energy is drained and we may feel resentment, anger, or disappointment toward others or ourselves. Having clearly defined boundaries help us feel grounded, balanced, and secure. Staying within our boundaries shows self-respect and self-love. When you make your boundaries appropriately known, it can also make life easier for others since they know what to expect.
There are several different kinds of boundaries:
- Material boundaries – What material things, including money, you will give or lend.
- Physical boundaries – Your level of comfort with physical touch or privacy.
- Mental boundaries – Knowing what you believe and your willingness to consider others’ opinions or values.
- Emotional boundaries – Awareness of your feelings and responsibilities to yourself and others, as well as being able to separate them.
- Sexual boundaries – What you are comfortable with and enjoy pertaining to sexual touch and activity.
- Spiritual boundaries – Your beliefs in relation to a higher power.
One important note: Do not mistake boundaries for walls. Spiritual and emotional boundaries are important for our own well-being. Boundaries help contain and build strength from within…whereas walls tend to block and defend.
If you have been reticent to set boundaries or to speak up when you feel a line is being crossed, ask yourself what is the reason behind it. Do you think you won’t be liked or accepted? That you’ll be seen as too selfish or too rigid? That if you don’t give someone what he or she wants, they will reject you? The bottom line is, those who matter will honor your healthy boundaries. Naturally, boundaries are a two-way street. Expect others to respect your boundaries, and you do the same!
Don’t know what your boundaries are? Need to re-evaluate them? As we head toward the holidays—with increased interaction with and demands from co-workers, friends, and family—now is a great time to get clear about boundaries!