Within the context of my practice, many of my clients often have issues regarding personal boundaries and responsibility to others. We are seeing more and more social media and reality shows which often encourages and entice people in accepting all sorts of behaviours from others. I have personally seen this constant type of exposure resulting in confusion, exhaustion, frustration and even depression. See our tips below for setting clear personal boundaries!
What are personal boundaries?
People will define their personal boundaries by a set of main beliefs, rules or limits that they consider reasonable, safe and acceptable for others to behave around them.
Setting clear personal boundaries is the key to ensuring relationships are mutually respectful, supportive and caring. Boundaries are a measure of self-esteem. They set the limits for acceptable behaviour from those around you, determining whether they feel able to put you down, make fun, or take advantage of your good nature.
Since your boundaries will define who you are, one of the things needed to successfully apply them is self-awareness. This will enable you to understand what your body and your intuition is telling you. When something is creating tension or discomfort, or making you feel drained, it is a sure sign for you to say no to whoever and whatever is being asked of you.
Understanding The Underlying Reasons
By understanding the underlying reasons behind your need to be involved in something, is the key to setting appropriate personal boundaries in any given situation. Never feel guilt for saying ‘no’ when you truly do not want to get involved or be part of something that makes you uncomfortable.
Many people agree to things even though it makes them ill thinking about it. They feel an obligation due to some misguided belief that it is expected of them. Others get involved in situations that clearly are beyond healthy personal boundaries, because they do not want to upset the person asking a favour or they feet it is their obligation.
Why Are Personal Boundaries important?Responsibilities
It is not always an easy task determining what is ours to take on and what isn’t. Living is a continual cycle of life experiences and in consequence, life lessons are learnt. We grow in wisdom with each step forward in awareness that we take from our daily experiences. If being responsible for someone is cheating them from a personal life experience or growth opportunity, then it is not yours to take on.
Helping and taking responsibility for someone are two very different things. You must be clear in your mind which of the two you are taking on. If people refuse to help themselves then so be it; it is not your responsibility to take them and their problems onto your shoulders. Offer them the possibility to learn their life lesson.
Signs of Unhealthy Boundaries
- Going against personal values or rights in order to please others.
- Giving as much as you can for the sake of giving.
- Taking as much as you can for the sake of taking.
- Letting others define you.
- Expecting others to fill your needs automatically.
- Feeling bad or guilty when you say no.
- Not speaking up when you are treated poorly.
- Falling apart so someone can take care of you.
- Falling “in love” with someone you barely know or who reaches out to you.
- Touching a person without asking.
How do we establish healthy personal boundaries?
Know that you have a right to personal boundaries.
Set clear and significant limits so that others will respect them, then be willing to do whatever it takes to enforce them. Interestingly, it’s been shown that those who have weak boundaries themselves tend to violate the boundaries of others.
Recognizing that other people’s needs and feelings are not more important than your own.
Many believe that the needs of others are more important than their own. This is not only untrue, but it can undermine the healthy functioning of relationships. If a person is worn out mentally and physically from putting everyone else first, he or she not only destroys his or her own health, he or she in turn deprives themselves of being fully engaged in their lives. Instead, a person should take care of himself or herself
Learn to say no.
Many of us are people-pleasers and often put ourselves at a disadvantage by trying to accommodate everyone. We don’t want to be selfish, so we put our personal needs on the back burner and agree to do things that may not be beneficial to our well-being. You do not do anyone any favours, least of all yourself, by trying to please others at your own expense.
Identify the actions and behaviours that you find unacceptable.
Allow yourself to be who you really are without pressure from others to be anything else. Know what actions you may need to take if your wishes aren’t respected.
Trust and believe in yourself.
You are the highest authority on you. You know what you need, want, and value. Don’t let anyone else make the decisions for you. Healthy boundaries make it possible for you to respect your strengths, abilities and individuality as well as those of others.
Floral Essences – A natural and powerful remedy
Have you even heard of Bach Remedies? Dr. Edward Bach discovered the Original Bach Flower Remedies, which is a system of 38 Flower Remedies that corrects emotional imbalances where negative emotions are replaced with positive. These remedies work well with herbs, homeopathy and medications and are safe for everyone, including children, pregnant women, pets and elderly.
Centaury Bach Flower Essence is perfect for someone who is having a difficult time setting personal boundaries. This flower is for kind, gentle people who feel it’s their purpose in life is to serve others. They have trouble saying “no,” so their good nature may be taken advantage of by stronger personalities. The weakness of their will may eventually show up in the body, with tiredness and a fear of being drained by others. There is a danger of the Centaury person being so eager to help others that they neglect their own mission in life. It is very useful in relationships where there is a tendency to lose oneself in the other or sacrifice ones needs.
Centaury strengthens the will, helps you say “no” when it’s appropriate and encourages the self-determination you need to fulfill your own mission in life.
When we possess healthy personal boundaries:
- We have improved and a healthy self-concept.
- We are more in touch with reality.
- Are better able to communicate with others.
- Have better more fulfilling relationships.
- Have more stability and control over our lives.
Awesome points. I learned that using flowers can help with emotional imbalance.
Thank you for your comment and yes, flower essences are wonderful to work with!
Thanks for sharing; I often feel guilty when saying no!
I completely understand what you are saying, but when we begin to understand the “why” behind the guilt, we are then able to get passed it 🙂
Thanks for sharing too!
I also often feel compelled to say yes when I don’t really want to, it’s expected of me though and so I give in and say yes, sigh.
I totally get you. It’s as if you are stuck in a vicious circle. The only way to get out of it is for you to break it. Just start off small…example, say ” let me think about it” which will throw others off and allow you to take some time to prepare yourself to explain to them why you have chosen not to help them out this time.
Thank you for sharing your experience. It can turn into an endless cycle. One thing you could say instead of “yes” is “let me think about it” or “let me get back to you”. That way, it’s not a definite “no”, yet, it’s not a “yes” against your will either 😉
I used to be quite vulnerable in the sense of only worrying about others instead of myself. No has become one of my favorite words because I finally realized, I’m important too.
That’s amazing! Like I always say, if you don’t take care of yourself, than who will?
I have a heard time saying no to anyone, and it’s really frustrating because it just makes me mad and upset and I will dwell on it for days wondering why I said yes
It does get very frustrating when we end up doing the exact opposite of what we want to do. One way to begin living authentically, is to figure out why you have such a hard time saying no.
Is it guilt…fear of being excluded…once you figure out the “why”, then it becomes easier to turn things around.
I can relate to feeling guilty when saying no when someone asks a favor from me.
This is a great and very useful post. I am printing this off for a friend of mine who has issues with setting personal boundaries in her personal life and professional. Thanks!
What a great idea…and what a great friend this woman has 😉
I am a 65 year old mother and grandmother. I have really had struggles with this throughout my life. I have always felt responsible for others rather it be family or friends. I have never put my own feelings and needs first. I just recently moved and struggling a bit but God has been teaching me alot. I have really been working on emotions, attitudes and Gods will in my life. Learning to trust in Him more and more every day. So although I am learning to live without God is teaching me so many things and I am so much more relaxed and confident in Him. Thank you so much for sharing this
Thank you for sharing your life experiences with us! We are all here to learn and to share 🙂
This is an important area and with changing boundaries, it is necessary to be aware of yourself and others. Thank you for the info.
Glad you enjoyed this post.
Hi There – This was great to read. Thank you! I definitely have trouble setting boundaries and am trying to work on it 🙂
I’m still working on not feeling guilty when I say no. Another sign of course is that you’re tired more often than not. I need a stop!
Setting boundaries is so important! I have trouble with it myself, but I find with practice it gets easier. It is so important for mental health. Thank you 🙂
I have found that it is easier to set boundaries and say no as I get older.
I think a lot of us struggle with one or more of these at sometime in our lives. We grow and accept as we age I think!