Week 1: Where Art Thou Boundaries
As you begin to focus on boundaries it’s common to realize you haven’t set enough boundaries or stayed true to the ones you tried to set. When it comes to relationships, it’s easy to lose sight of boundaries and their importance. To determine where your boundaries are or if you have them, let’s start by asking yourself these questions:
Do you ever feel like people take advantage of you or walk over you?
Do you feel like you’re always saving people from their problems?
Do you find yourself far more invested in friendships or romantic relationships than the other person?
Do you find it difficult to say no to a loved one, friend or even colleague when they ask for something you aren’t comfortable doing or sharing?
Do you feel like you’re always defending yourself – your decisions, beliefs or perspectives?
If you’ve answered yes to some of these questions it’s likely that the boundaries you’ve set in your relationships are not set in the right place or you’re not staying true to them. When it comes to relationships – both romantic and platonic – it’s easy, and common, to bend for those you love. But with bending your boundaries and making exception after exception you silently say your boundaries don’t need to be respected, not only by others but also by yourself.
Believe it or not, boundaries are linked to your self-esteem and view of your self-worth. When you practice strong boundaries, and stick to them, you will see your self-esteem grow. It’s a win-win! So how do you get to the big wins of strong boundaries and higher self-worth? Let’s first understand why boundaries are important and good for you.
When you are able to determine and set your boundaries you are establishing behavior you will accept from others and it establishes behavior that others can expect from you. Boundaries can often feel invisible but with understanding where and how to implement them they are easy to see. The most important boundaries are physical, sexual, intellectual, emotional and financial. When you are able to look at each area and clearly define your boundaries you will start to see your self-esteem grow and in turn, your confidence to stay true to those boundaries.
This week take some time to reflect on these five areas – physical, sexual, intellectual, emotional and financial – have you set clear boundaries in each area? What areas do you have strong boundaries already? What area needs more attention and understanding to better set boundaries?