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DSW Ministries: Blog

Boundaries!

Posted on July 22, 2013
 

There is one area of personal evolution that can make or break your self-esteem and your ability to have healthy relationships. It’s the ability to set and implement healthy personal boundaries. Personal boundaries are the imaginary lines we draw around ourselves to maintain balance and protect our bodies, minds, emotions, and time from the behavior or demands of others. They provide the framework to keep us from being used or manipulated by others, and they allow us to confidently express who we are and what we want in life. Personal boundaries allow us to be in the driver’s seat of our own lives. At the root of personal boundary issues is fear. (Isn’t that the root of most issues?) It’s the fear we won’t be loved, that we aren’t good enough or deserving enough just as we are.

Here are some signs of weak personal boundaries:

  • Saying no when you mean yes, or yes when you mean no.
  • Feeling guilty when you do say no.
  • Acting against your integrity or values in order to please.
  • Not speaking up when you have something to say.
  • Adopting another person’s beliefs or ideas so you are accepted.
  • Not calling out someone who mistreats you.
  • Accepting physical touch or sex when you don’t want it.
  • Allowing yourself to be interrupted or distracted to accommodate another person’s immediate wants or needs.
  •  Giving too much just to be perceived as useful.
  • Becoming overly involved in someone’s problems or difficulties.
  • Allowing people to say things to you or in front of you that make you uncomfortable.
  • Not defining and communicating your emotional needs in your closest relationships.

For anyone accustomed to being accommodating and compliant, the process of setting and implementing boundaries may feel threatening and unnatural at first. But as you begin to stand up for yourself and your boundaries, you will feel increasingly empowered and confident. You will like and respect yourself, and others will be attracted to your authenticity and self-confidence.

So here’s how to start creating and implementing your personal boundaries:

1. Mind Shift Begin with the mind shift that having personal boundaries is OK. It doesn’t mean you are selfish or unloving. It is both completely acceptable and absolutely necessary for healthy relationships. Understand that self-worth comes from defining your life as you want it to be, not from the acceptance or identity of others.

2. Define Sit down and think about how you have been allowing others to take advantage of you and how you might be accepting situations that are really unacceptable to you. Make a list of things that people may no longer do to you, say to you, or do around you. Decide how you need physical and emotional space. Define your values, belief system, and outlook on life so you have a clear picture of who you are and how you want to live. Get very clear on that.

3. Communicate Sit down with the people involved in crossing your personal boundaries and kindly communicate your mind shift. Let them know you have spent some time thinking about what is important and acceptable to you and what isn’t. Let them know how they have crossed your boundaries in the past, and ask them to respect and support your new boundaries.

4. Expect Expect that this conversation will feel uncomfortable and difficult, especially if you are a pleaser. There may be some defensiveness and push-back from those involved. That’s OK. They’ll get used to your new boundaries over time. You will find you attract new, supportive, and healthy-minded people in your life. Whatever you do, don’t compromise your values, integrity, and self-respect simply to keep someone in your life. Your soul can’t sustain that.

5. Reinforce It may take some time to train yourself and others around your new boundaries. Continue to reinforce them so that you are taken seriously and respected. Practice saying no when you are asked to do something you don’t want to do. Create a plan for times when someone crosses your boundaries. Let them know what they are doing. Ask them to stop immediately. Walk away from any push-back or negative comments without acquiescing or getting angry. Over time, you and the other person will realize you are serious.

6. Reward Be sure to acknowledge and reward those who are supporting and respecting your personal boundaries. Thank them and let them know the positive impact it has had on your life. This will motivate them to continue their behavior.

7. Reciprocate Remember that respecting boundaries goes two ways. Examine your own behavior and words to see where you might be crossing another person’s boundaries. Work to change those behaviors so that you are reflecting the respect and support you want for yourself.

8. Stay Flexible There’s a difference between healthy boundaries and rigid boundaries. You don’t want to be a controlling or dictatorial person. That’s not the goal. The goal is a healthy relationship with those close to you, balanced by a sense of understanding, mutual support, and give-and-take.

9. Be Patient If you have had weak personal boundaries for years, be aware that this change doesn’t happen overnight. Disengaging from the emotions and beliefs that led you to weak boundaries requires practice, and sometimes it requires the support of a counselor.

10. Believe in yourself and your value as a unique individual who is worthy of love and respect. Trust your instincts and feelings about what you do and don’t want in your life. Don’t allow others to define that for you.

When you define and implement personal boundaries in your life, you will find that fear diminishes significantly. You will feel more empowered and self-confident because you are communicating your self-worth to those around you. The more you practice holding fast to your boundaries, the more love, respect, and support you will find in your life.

Source: Live Bold And Bloom.com