Setting Personal Boundaries
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.
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 behavior 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.
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 favor or they feet it is their obligation.
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 favors, least of all yourself, by trying to please others at your own expense.
Identify the actions and behaviors 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 toserve 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.
When we possess healthy personal boundaries:
✓We have improved self-confidence 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.