Your own personal boundaries guide your decision making. Boundaries are a clear way of communicating your mental, physical and emotional needs. By setting boundaries you are declaring to those around you that your needs are important too. You let others know what you are and what you are not prepared to do.
We set our own boundaries as a means of self-preservation. We set boundaries to remind ourselves of what we are comfortable with. Boundaries help us align the different aspects of our life; relationships, work, family life, physical and emotional health.
What happens when you step over your boundaries?
You feel uncomfortable.
You feel stress.
You feel drained.
You go beyond your own limits.
You express that the needs of others go above your own.
You go against your core values.
You demonstrate a lack of self-respect.
You take on responsibility for someone else’s feelings.
You doubt yourself.
You feel misaligned.
When you take action that is in direct conflict with your belief system or your values then it creates an ill feeling. It creates unhappiness and discomfort. A consistent infringement of your own boundaries will cause stress and lead to health problems.
You set your boundaries by being more aware of how you feel. If you feel uncomfortable in a particular situation then ask yourself why. Dig deep. There’s the making of your boundary.
Once you understand your own boundaries you can communicate them.
There will always be people in your life who test your boundaries. It may be your employer who is grappling for more of your time at the expense of your family. It may be a client who insists on continuously calling outside of business hours. It may be a friend who makes a last-minute demand that you accompany them somewhere.
You may need to be direct about your boundaries. Or it may simply be enough to communicate your boundaries through your reactions and behavior. By saying no, for example. Give a reason, but don’t apologize for your reasoning.
Setting and honoring healthy boundaries certainly doesn’t always come naturally. Knowing ourselves well enough to understand our own needs and limits is a learning process. And as it is with all learned skills, practice makes perfect. With practice, you will become the master of your own boundaries.
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