Hello, my friends, How are you doing today? It is summer and hot here in Okinawa, but I love it. I am a girl from the sunshine state and I love the sun. I love the smell, I love the feel of it on my skin. And yes, I'm a Nurse. I know too much sun is bad for you. But I just love it. I spent 8 years prior to living here in Germany, where you hardly ever see the sun. I missed it so much like an old friend. So thankful we are reunited.
Today, my friends, we are going to talk about boundaries. This comes up a lot in my Master's program of Psychology and Addiction Counseling, in the opportunities I have to work with recovery support groups and in my coaching.
I just read a quote that said.
"When someone tries to trigger you by insulting you or by doing or saying something that irritates you, take a deep breath, and switch off your ego. Remember that if you are easily offended you are easily manipulated"
I would add to that, recognize your boundary, name your limit, tune into your feelings, articulate your boundary and give yourself permission to ignore or disengage, or walk away.
Healthy boundaries are a crucial part of self-care. Setting healthy boundaries can help create meaningful connections with family, children, and friends. It can mean taking care of one’s physical, emotional, mental, and social wellbeing. Setting boundaries is an important part of leading a mentally healthy life.
But I think this is sometimes difficult to understand and that is why I wanted to talk about it today.
Let’s look at what are boundaries and why are they important to live a life of peace, power, and purpose.
A boundary is a limit or space between you and another person; a clear space where you begin and the other person ends. The purpose of setting healthy boundaries is to protect and take good care of you. Clear boundaries help you live authentically and respect your own feelings, wants, and values. It lets others know what is OK, what is not OK
First, we need to examine our own boundaries that already exist and where they may be lacking.
Boundaries are based on your personal needs and values. What are your values? What are the things most important to you? What are your nonnegotiables? Or the things you are not willing to tolerate being around or being a part of.
A lot of this goes back to knowing who you are, what makes you tick, what do you enjoy, what kinds of situations do you thrive in, what situations make you uncomfortable. Try to get clear with yourself. The clearer you are with yourself the more clear you will be with others when communicating what you want, your beliefs, your values, and your limits.
Name your limits - It is difficult to set healthy appropriate boundaries if you are unsure of where you stand. Take some time to identify your physical, emotional, social, mental, and spiritual limits. Think about what you can tolerate and what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed. One of the things I teach in my coaching programs is getting the thoughts out of your head and on to paper. You can argue in your head all day long, but putting it on paper helps you look at things objectively and helps you use both parts of your brain to make decisions. Your emotional brain and your rational brain.
Tune into your feelings
From past experience, we spent a lot of time pushing down our feelings and emotions instead of just feeling them and dealing with them. Be aware of your emotions and feelings.
There are two big emotions you may feel when someone has crossed boundaries. Discomfort and resentment. This of course can be felt on a continuum but if you find yourself feeling these feelings. Be curious and ask yourself what is causing this, what is going on in this interaction that I feel uncomfortable with.
We usually feel resentment when we think we have been taken advantage of or not appreciated. Try to really look at what is going on in the situation, tune into your thoughts and your feelings. Remember your thoughts control your feelings. If you think you are not appreciated, figure out why and how you can fix it. Either appreciate yourself or say NO. Set a boundary.
It is difficult to live authentically if you don’t understand what you are feeling. This takes some work to really get in tune with yourself. But it is so worth it. When you learn to tune into your feelings and manage your thoughts, you are able to show up authentically and build strong connections and love unconditionally.
Be direct - Sometimes you may need to be direct. Learn how to know what you are thinking and learn to articulate it. This is not to be mean or hurtful, they are meant to keep you safe and allow you to show up wholeheartedly.
Give yourself permission - Sometimes I think we may fear the other person’s response if we set and enforce our boundary. We may feel fear, guilt, or self-doubt. Boundaries are a sign of self-respect. Give yourself permission to set boundaries.
So often we act a certain way due to fear, fear of criticism, fear of being judged, or guilt because we don’t feel we are doing enough. This is not being true to yourself or to others. It is essentially lying. These fears and anxieties cause cognitive dissonance because we are not practicing integrity with our own soul.
Give yourself permission to be YOU and give others permission to be them.
Practice self-awareness - If you find you are feeling resentment or anger. Take some time to feel your feeling and be curious as to why. Being aware can help you learn how to articulate your needs and boundaries in a healthy way. When we feel the burdened, we may hide behind our to-do list and create a constant whirl of exhausting motion as we shift in overdrive to meet all the needs of others depriving ourselves of what we need most. We tend to overgive, thinking this will fill the void, or everyone will like me or we are just being a “good person>” Overgiving is a sign of deprivation and can make you feel like the victim. Never be the victim. Take the time to practice self-awareness, recognize your needs, and empower yourself to do something about them.
Consider your past and present. We all have experiences from our past that have shaped the way we think about current situations and interactions with others. How we emotionally deal with our past directly influences our present. Stored memories can be charged with negative emotions and if we haven't taken the time to work through those emotions, they can be triggered by present events. Take the time to work through negative situations of the past. Don’t use extra energy to hide or push those feelings down. Processing them will help you work through them and re-write your story where you are a hero and then you can feel free. This reduces the living from “fear” and allows you to create boundaries to keep yourself safe and meet your needs without holding on to baggage from the past. I have a free workshop coming up later this month if you want more help rewriting your story. I’ll leave the link in the show notes. It is a powerful way to help you stop being the victim and emerge the hero.
Make self-care a priority - giving yourself permission to put your needs first. Putting your needs first, gives you energy, the peace of mind, and a positive outlook. When you’re in a better palace you can be a better person for others. When you have compassion for yourself you have compassion for others.
Self-care is sometimes mistaken as selfish, but self-care allows us to operate from a place of inner balance and peace. This means we show up more authentically feel free to be more vulnerable when necessary and have the ability to love more unconditionally. Self-care forces us to make choices and decisions that honor and reflect the nature of our soul. It means living with integrity in the purest sense of the word. And it frees up the ability to show true compassion, empathy, and love.
Start small- remember that any skill takes practice.
Not setting healthy boundaries creates stress, financial burdens, wasted time, and relationship issues. You don’t have to have a reason for your boundaries, you just need to decide what you are willing to give, what you are willing to accept and permit. You don’t have to justify your boundaries. You don’t have to judge and tell someone else they are right or wrong. You need to do what is right or best for you.
Types of boundaries
Physical boundaries or personal space. Our family is very huggy and very close. We sit close, our friends at church make fun of us because all five us only take up fourth of the pew, because we sit close. That is fine and appropriate in our family. But not everyone appreciates being so close. When our oldest son was around 12-13, you know that awkward age when you are trying your best to figure things out, he really struggled with personal space. We had to have several talks about personal bubbles and what was appropriate with other people. He is still a hugger but learned how to respect other people’s personal boundaries of space.
No one likes you up in their personal space without permission. This is an important boundary to understand for yourself and what you feel comfortable with and what you do not feel comfortable with.
Emotional boundaries protect your sense of self-esteem and the ability to separate your feelings from others. If you have weak emotional boundaries, you may feel like you get caught up in a hurricane without any protection. You may end up feeling bruised, wounded or battered. It is important to recognize your own emotional needs and boundaries and communicate when they are being crossed.
Examples of emotional boundary invasions may be losing your sense of individuality in a relationship, by allowing others to dictate your mood. If they are sad you are sad if they are happy you are happy. I am not saying you can’t feel empathy and validate the other person’s feelings, but you don’t have to take on their feelings.
Another way of boundary invasion is sacrificing your own plans, dreams, and goals to please others. People-pleasing is about fear of rejection, fear of confrontation, shame, and guilt.
People-pleasing is not about the love of oneself or the love of the other person, it is a lie.
I think love is the best feeling of all. I definitely want more love in my life and I want to love others. And I can choose that. I can choose to love others as they are. They don’t have to change for me to love them. They don’t have to even be nice to me for me to love them. I can just choose love... When we choose to love. We get to feel love. Choosing love can soften our hearts and open up our minds to new possibilities. It can teach us compassion and empathy and non-judgment.
But that doesn’t mean that I am a doormat. That doesn’t mean I let people treat me however they want. Loving unconditionally doesn’t mean choosing to stay in a relationship that is unhealthy and unsafe. It does not mean allowing others to treat you unkindly or abusively. Loving unconditionally never means giving a part of yourself that you are unwilling to give.
Loving someone else unconditionally does not mean giving up a part of yourself. Your love for others starts with your love for yourself.
You have to have love and respect for yourself in order to more fully give love to others.
I think it is important to understand the difference between loving someone and people-pleasing. People-pleasing chips away at your self-worth, your integrity, and your ability to really love others. It causes anger, resentment, and frustration. It doesn’t feel like love.
And then cognitive boundaries are recognizing that we all have different opinions, values, and goals for our life. Understanding and recognizing our own opinions are important and can be shared with others that have mutual respect and can listen without getting belligerent or belittling. For some, this is very difficult. We have to be secure in our beliefs before we can listen and allow for others to share their beliefs because if we are not, secure in our beliefs then we may feel verbally attacked or we may verbally attack. Recognizing your own cognitive boundaries allows you the freedom to discuss ideas and not feel personally violated.
I think we see this a lot with the robust discussion on the internet about politics and issues going on in the U.S. One person may feel that challenging someone else opinion is a healthy way of communicating, but another person may feel this is disrespectful. NEITHER ARE WRONG. But you have to know where you lie to take care of yourself and you do that by creating and respecting your own boundaries
I want to talk about what boundaries are NOT>
Boundaries are not anyone else’s job to uphold but YOU. We don’t leave it up to other people t meet our needs. You can’t control other people. You are not responsible for the other person’s reaction to the boundary you are setting. You are only responsible for clearly and respectfully communicating your boundary. If it upset the other person, be confident knowing it is not your problem. Some people, especially those accustomed to controlling, abusing, or manipulating you, might test you. Plan on it, expect it, but remain firm. Remember, your behavior must match the boundaries you are setting. You cannot successfully establish a clear boundary if you send mixed messages by apologizing.
Boundaries are NOT for manipulations. I have heard people say well I just need to convince my significant other or mom or friend to do this because that is my boundary. You may want to communicate a boundary or a need, but it is not anyone else’s job to keep that boundary.
Boundaries should come from love and respect. I love and respect myself and I love and respect the other person, therefore if they choose to get angry, then I can choose to walk away, or to not engage. You own your side of the relationship. You make sure to meet your needs. You can still communicate requests, but you can’t control other people. Otherwise, you will be full of resentment and anger. If you are setting boundaries to manipulate someone one that is not a healthy way to have a boundary. Oftentimes people get upset and decide to set a boundary as a way to punish their spouse or a friend that is not playing the way they want.
I hope this all made sense. Boundaries are a difficult topic for some. They take some self-reflection, courage, and consistency. Not every boundary has to be articulated. I don’t like confrontation, so I get it. But I have learned I need to take care of myself in order to live a life where I can show up as my best self, as my authentic self, so I can love unconditionally. I don’t go around telling people If you say this to me, you have crossed a boundary and I will not talk to you anymore. Most people are respectful and this is not a problem, but there are some who like to may try to trigger you by insulting you or by doing or saying something that irritates you, take a deep breath, recognize your boundary, name your limit, tune into your feelings, articulate your boundary and give yourself permission to ignore or disengage, or walk away.
Remember not to be offended and not to be manipulated.
If you like what you read, leave me a comment below. I would love to know what you think.
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Until we meet again my friends.