Boundaries is a term often tossed around and holds multiple meanings and definitions depending upon the person, situation, and life happenings. Boundaries are specific to each individual, either learned or dictated by situation/culture/norm/societal context. Boundaries fluctuate from person to person and define our expectations of ourselves and others depending upon the relationships, situations, and interactions.
Boundaries are: invisible/present: rigid/flimsy: specific/non-discriminatory: constant/occasional. Boundaries can change, remain the same, or shift depending on the person, place, or situation- or they can be an ideal and never really applied. They can be instituted for no reason, for some purpose, as a reaction, or as an anticipated fear.
But you may wonder why boundaries are important and how they influence your life. Ever heard the phrase: you teach people how to treat you? While you read that, you probably understand the context, but let me ask you to take a step closer and examine the meaning. You demonstrate to others what you will accept or are “willing to put up with” for the sake of the situation. More importantly, you indicate your belief in self-worth by setting forth and maintaining your boundaries.
There is great importance in setting boundaries with yourself as well as others. Boundaries focus on developing one’s identity, mental health, and overall well-being. But what does that look like?
Understanding yourself helps you to determine boundaries that are:
- Those values and issues that are important to you in order to make decisions and tolerance levels
- Boundaries provide the chance to stand up for one’s self
- Healthy/appropriate avenues from which to establish or guide relationships
- Reasonable/workable- boundaries have to be solid and flexible at the same time in order to be of value and benefit
Boundaries are to cherish our self-respect and self-worth while also creating healthy and respectful connections with ourselves and others. Boundaries allow us the time and space to honor our and others’ energies, needs, and desires.
Boundaries are essential in nurturing our humanity, coping with stress, managing our emotions, overcoming challenges, and protecting ourselves from unnecessary stress and pain.
Boundaries give us a sense of security to confidently live on our own terms. Boundaries give us the power to choose how to behave, interact, disclose, trust, and standards to follow.
Give some time and thought to your current state of relationships (personal/professional) to level set your baseline of acceptance to create the chance of living a more authentic and healthy life.
Recommend setting aside time to reflect upon your well-being personally and professionally. What is working, what is causing you stress, and what areas you can dive into to discover wherein your happiness resides. Next, comes the examination of what aspects of your life give you energy, motivate and inspire you and how you approach those expressions. Next, take a peek into those areas that cause stress and discomfort and/or leave you exhausted. What drives those feelings and experiences, and what is within your control to create change?
Setting boundaries is a continual process, and while it may sound fairly simple to do, and it can be, anytime one works with details, emotions, and perspectives, it can be more challenging than anticipated. So here is a refresher on how to set healthy boundaries:
- Determine what values and practices are most important to you.
- Is it Honesty? Respect? Integrity?
- What is most valuable to me?
- Time? Effort? Energies? Alignment?
- What boundaries do I need to create to capture those elements?
- Friendships & Acquaintances
- What boundaries do I need to follow:
- Clarify? Strengthen? Reinforce?
Keep in mind that the more you take responsibility for yourself and become who you really are, the more authentic your life evolves and is more meaningful and beneficial to others. Boundaries should make you feel safe, supported, and valued. Boundaries are an invisible barrier to guarding your self-worth, value, and contentment against external fears and life hazards that otherwise shift our focus and power towards reacting rather than effectively responding.
If you want to learn more, let’s connect at email@example.com to set up an appointment. Until then, be well, my friends!
Dr. Shana Garrett