“Good fences make good neighbors” – Robert Frost
Recognize this sign? It protects a border and when that border (or boundary) is crossed there can be consequences. It’s easy to understand this type of border because you can clearly see the sign and the area it protects. Personal boundaries can be harder to define because the lines are invisible, can change, and are unique to each individual.
Enforcing a healthy boundary for yourself with friends and other relationships can be empowering. It doesn’t mean you aren’t available or don’t want to do something for another person but by recognizing the need to set and enforce some limits, you protect your self-esteem & maintain self-respect. The person will get the picture that they can only push so far. One great benefit of setting a boundary will be to get freedom from bad behaviour.
We can be good friends but we need to be good friends to ourselves too.
We’ve all had the experience when our personal space has been invaded. Personal boundaries, just like the “No Trespassing” sign are determined by the amount of physical and emotional space you allow between yourself and others. Personal boundaries help you decide what types of communication, behaviour, and interaction are acceptable. Sadly, a few of us just don’t get it!
It is impossible to have a healthy relationship with someone who has no boundaries.
We need to be able to tell other people when they are acting in ways that are not acceptable to us. A first step is starting to know that we have a right to protect and defend ourselves. That we have not only the right, but the duty to take responsibility for how we allow others to treat us.
Why do we have trouble establishing and/or protecting our boundaries? One reason is that we might not know where our boundaries are. Another is that we are afraid of the consequences of protecting our boundaries (ie. others will be angry, hurt or rejected.) Sometimes we don’t assert our boundaries because we want to keep the peace and avoid any conflict. Other times we have difficulties because we did not have the opportunity as a child to learn how to create healthy boundaries.
GENEROUS PEOPLE SET BOUNDARIES. If you don’t set boundaries you are giving yourself away. With boundaries you only give what you want, which means you can afford to be generous to more people over a longer period of time.
Do you agree?