Today, I am going to talk about boundaries – their definition, types, healthy and unhealthy ones, and their importance. A boundary is a limit, or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin and the other person ends. Boundaries are designed to protect you and the life that you want to live; they reflect how we love ourselves and what we value most deeply; they set the basic guidelines of how you want to be treated. They are built out of a mix of beliefs, opinions, attitudes, past experiences and social learning. Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others

There are seven types of boundaries to consider:

Self-Esteem Boundaries which protect your sense of worth. These boundaries help you feel good about you.

Body Boundaries relate to what  you need to do to protect your body? What standards need to be in place for you to protect your physical health? It could be that a certain minimum amount of exercise or a maximum amount of food or drink is required.

Energy Boundaries protect the amount of physical and emotional energy you have to operate from. The energy drains in your life need to be eliminated or minimised.

Time Boundaries value time as a precious commodity. Without the proper time boundaries, we lose something we can never get back. Ask yourself, what non-negotiable boundaries must be in place to protect your time? What is the maximum amount of time you will spend on a particular activity, at a specific event, or engaging in work?

Space Boundaries includes any environment we spend time in. We need to protect our spaces so they nourish us and enable us to live our lives optimally. Pay attention to your needs for organisation or beauty in your environments.

Money Boundaries protect your finances. What are the limits you need to set on spending and saving? What is the minimum salary you are willing to work for?

Healthy boundaries are necessary components for self-care. They can mean that we are a better friend, father, mother, partner to others because we are a friend to ourselves first .

 The purpose of setting a healthy boundary is to protect and take good care of you. They allow an individual to: have high self-esteem and self-respect ;they protect physical and emotional space from intrusion; they have an equal partnership where responsibility and power are shared; they confidently and truthfully say YES or NO and be OK when others say NO to you.

UNHEALTHY Boundaries are characterised by:

  • Sharing too much too soon or, at the other end of the spectrum, closing yourself off and not expressing your need and wants.

  • Feeling responsible for others’ happiness.

  • Having a weak sense of your own identity.

  • When you base how you feel about yourself on how others treat you.

  • When you allow others to make decisions for you; consequently, you feel powerless and do not take responsibility for your own life.

Setting boundaries isn’t always comfortable and people may push back if you say NO to some things or try communicating your needs more clearly. People may try to test your limits, to see how serious you are about drawing the line. Or they may be used to you responding in a certain way, for example agreeing to take on everything, and they may push back when you try to make some changes. That doesn’t mean that you’re doing something wrong. It may just mean that you need to be clear and consistent until people adjust to the new way of interacting.

The weakest link for most of us in setting boundaries is that we never learned that setting a boundary is equivalent to letting go of the outcome in a given situation. In fact, this is the key distinguishing feature between healthy boundaries and manipulative relationships. True boundaries, once set, release the outcome. It is a true letting go of what is not ours. Not letting go, trying to control the outcome is a form of manipulation that often gets confused as boundary setting in many relationships.

Another signal to rethink your boundaries is when you are unable to keep your commitments without constant resentment. Sometimes, what we  do for others in the name of love, often feels more like obligation.

In conclusion, learning to sense and articulate your own needs and choosing where and when to share them might well be the single biggest life change you can now commit to.

Published On: October 21st, 2020 / Categories: Blog /