There was a time when I wouldn’t speak up for myself. I didn’t know what my boundaries were yet alone reinforce them to another. It didn’t matter whether this was a work, in friendships or relationships.
Looking back I was really concerned with what others though about me. Therefore I was giving away my power away to them, which meant I was dis-valuing myself.
Because I sought acceptance from others, I accepted any behaviour and in most instances it left me being really upset with myself. I also found myself resenting people and felt at discord with them.
What are boundaries?
Boundaries are the perimeter or threshold which you have, and/or need to have, with regards what you do and don’t accept from others. It is the point at which you feel empowered, joyful, at peace and in alignment with your true self.
As boundaries are fundamentally what is and isn’t ok for us, they will differ for each person. As long as your boundaries do not purposefully hurt another, they can never be right or wrong.
- the degree in which we will allow someone into our personal space, physically, emotionally and spiritually;
- the nature of treatment and behaviour that we find acceptable and appropriate;
- what we allow or disallow;
- whether we are giving our power and energy to another; and
- how loving we treat ourselves and how loving we can be towards others.
What makes it difficult for people to communicate their boundaries is because they don’t want to offend or upset the other person, preferably upsetting them self. Dr John Demartini, a modern day philosopher, calls this the Law of Lesser Pissers – who would you prefer to piss off, yourself or another?
Most people allow themselves to be pissed off because they are seeking approval. It is senseless how we will readily upset our own being, allow our self to feel taken advantage of, to be offended or even angry, rather than the possibility of maybe offending another. Noting the word possibility.
Too often people think that by not saying no, or telling another that their behaviour is upsetting them, is being loving to that person, however it isn’t. Because it results in resentment. Alternatively setting boundaries is the act of treating yourself with love and respect, as well as treat others with love and respect.
When we set boundaries let the other person know our threshold. When they know what the our boundaries are it means they now know the limits of what they need to meet and thus how much they also need to give and contribute.
Your willingness to communicate and reinforce your boundaries is also equal to the value you put on yourself. When you have a lack of self worth then you will fail to convey what is ok with you (or perhaps not ok). You are unconsciously giving others permission to reinforce your lack of self worth.
It is important to note here that often we treat others through our own boundaries, i.e. of what we consider to be appropriate. Therefore at times some people don’t realising they are overstepping the mark, which reinforces the importance that we communicate what IS appropriate for us, as it helps another to have awareness of our boundaries.
It is my belief that when we speak from a positive heart space we cannot go wrong and if what is said is done with the right intentions then it is a positive learning opportunity for both parties.
Noting in the instance we say something (with the right intention and in the right way), and the other person gets upset then it is more than likely they have an issue which is coming up to give them an opportunity to own and dissipate.
Clarifying your boundaries
If you are not clear about our boundaries, then others cannot be either. You need to know your boundaries and honour them, in turn valuing your self. You also need to know which of your boundaries are not negotiable and which ones you are willing to bend & to what degree.
To clarify your boundaries, ask yourself:
- What is ok for me? What is not ok for me?
- What have been the situations that left me feeling resentful?
- Where have I said “no” and I didn’t, which left me upset with myself.
This observation can be taken externally to others. Know most people are working on their ability to voice their needs, which means many people don’t stipulate their boundaries. The more that you express your own, you give them permission to do so. Also when you seek to know if you have crossed their boundaries, you encourage them to voice them.
To tell when you have crossed another’s boundaries be aware of their subtleties, such as when they withdraw or go quiet. Perhaps they have a rush of emotion, or their face changes colour i.e. reddens.
Implement boundaries is a process
If you have spent a lifetime of not knowing, stating or reinforcing your boundaries then this new habit and way of being is going to be like building a muscle, so start small. For example if you are asked where you want to go for dinner don’t say “I don’t mind, you choose”. Make the choice stipulate where you want to go for dinner.
Remind yourself the reason you are implementing your boundaries. Because it is:
- a loving thing to do for yourself and others
- the only way to create connections with yourself as well as others
- allowing yourself to be known by others in a loving and respectful way.
Know that, as with any process or new habit, you may slip into the old habits and allow your boundaries to be crossed. Use this as a learning opportunity and understand the reasons so that you can make change.
If you are having challenges with allowing yourself to be known then perhaps a kinesiology session would be ideal for you. You can make an appointment with us via: http://www.theinnersageaustralia.com/appointments/