The concept of personal boundaries is unfamiliar to many of us, but crucial for establishing healthy relationships. If you grew up in an unhealthy family situation, your boundaries might not have been respected, making you unsure about where you end, and others begin. This insecurity can manifest in various ways, such as hesitating to think your own thoughts and respect your own ideas (your mental boundary), feeling unclear about your right to separate your emotions from those of others (your emotional boundary) and being unsure about what constitutes appropriate touch (your physical boundary).
Because your boundaries were not respected during your childhood, you may have developed overly flexible boundaries, making it difficult to say no, and too easy to accommodate the needs of others. Or you may have developed overly rigid boundaries - becoming inflexible, self-righteous, or judgmental, and finding it difficult to let people into your life.
When we lack healthy boundaries in relationships - be it a romantic relationship, a friendship, or relationships with our children and other family members - we often experience increased anxiety and stress as the problems of others become OUR problems to solve! This can lead to feelings of resentment, unreasonable guilt and frankly, burn out.
Do you feel overly responsible for the feelings and needs of others, while neglecting your own? Are you able to say "no"? Can you ask for what you need? Do you become upset simply because others around you are upset? A wise person once said, “If you find yourself angry, whining or complaining, you probably need to set a limit.”
Learn to recognize your own personal boundaries. Take the driver’s seat in your life by identifying and respecting your needs, feelings, opinions and personal rights.
Learn how you may unintentionally cross the boundaries of others and find out how to correct these missteps. Learn to set limits with compassion, and courageously participate in conversations that are crucial to your wellbeing.
“People with healthy boundaries are firm but flexible. They give support and accept it. They respect their feelings, needs, opinions, and rights, and those of others, but are clear about their separateness. They are responsible for their own happiness and allow others to be responsible for their own happiness. They are assertive and respectful of the rights of others to be assertive. They are able to negotiate and compromise, have empathy for others, are able to make mistakes without damaging their self esteem, and have a solid sense of personal identity. They respect diversity. People with healthy boundaries are comfortable with themselves, and enable others to feel comfortable around them. They live in houses with fences and gates that allow access only to those who respect their boundaries.”