Recently I was chatting with a friend who has some personal relationship issues. We discussed her thoughts, worked through her feelings and considered some steps to help her. One thing that I learnt from the conversation was the importance of setting personal boundaries for personal relationships, i.e. with children, spouse, families and friends.
What are personal boundaries?
Your personal boundary is like having a deep relationship with yourself, understanding your emotions, your thoughts, behaviours, your likes, dislikes and impulses. It means you know how you would treat yourself, understand the respect you have for yourself, and believe in your own accountability for your emotions, actions and behaviour.
How important is setting personal boundaries for personal well being?
Setting boundaries is one crucial step in the process of self-love. It is respecting who you are and what you want in life. It is taking responsibility for your actions and in-actions, your thoughts and your behaviour. Setting personal boundaries is a way of protecting your well being.
Setting personal boundaries is important for healthy relationships with yourself, your friends, your spouse, and with your children and family.
Several reasons why some people don't set firm boundaries is because they FEAR:
- Judgment from other people
- Not knowing what they really want
- Losing their friendships
- Feeling guilty by saying no.
Or it may be a learned attitude – i.e. learning from young that what you want and feel is irrelevant, as other people's needs precede yours.
The consequences of NO personal boundaries are:
- you will feel disrespected and resentment creeps in
- lose control of situations – as they will start to control you
- feeling chaotic, unsure and drained
- becoming a people pleaser
- having your self-worth defined by other people
- feeling powerless, resentful and stressed and consumed by dramas around you.
If setting boundaries is not something you are comfortable with, it is not entirely your fault. It has do with your beliefs and programming you've created from childhood, and you may or may not be fully aware of them.
You see, boundaries are learned. If you were not valued and respected when you were a child, you would not know what personal boundaries are like. You may take on other people's needs, wants and emotions as yours.
How to claim back your power?
- Be grounded.
- Be clear with your intentions.
- Know what you want and state your needs.
- Communicate with calmness, assertiveness and with courtesy.
- Take full responsibility for all your actions and behaviours.
- Respect yourself and know that self-care and self-love are not selfish.
- Know that you are not responsible for other people's feelings and emotions.
Finally, remember, self love and self-care are not selfish.