Boundaries can be defined as the limits we set with other people, which indicate what we find acceptable and unacceptable in their behavior towards us. The ability to know our boundaries generally sines fro. A healthy sense of self-worth, or valuing yourself in a way that is not contingent on other people or the feeling they have toward you. Unlike self-esteem, self-worth in finding intrinsic value in who you are, so that you can be aware of your:
- Intellectual worth and boundaries. You are entitled to your own thoughts and opinions, as are others.
- Emotional worth and boundaries. You are entitled to you own feelings to a given situation, as are others.
- Physical worth and boundaries. You are entitled to your space, however wide it may be, as are others.
- Social worth and boundaries. You are entitled to your own friends and to pursuing your own social activities, as are others.
- Spiritual worth and boundaries. You are entitled to your own spiritual beliefs, as are others.
Knowing our boundaries and setting them are two very different hurdles to overcome. Setting boundaries does not always come easily. It’s often a skill that needs to be learned. According to Albert Bandura much of human social learning comes from modeling behavior, so if we do not have adequate role models whose behavior we can encode through observation and later imitate, we are at a loss, often left fumbling and frustrated.
To start setting your boundaries straight try these things.
1 Know your limits. Clearly define what your intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual boundaries are with strangers, work colleagues, friends, family, and perverse. Examine past experiences where you felt discomfort, anger, resentment, or frustration with an individual. It may have been because your limits had been crossed. Create a boundary chart which outlines each boundary for each relationship category and fill it in with boundary criteria you feel comfortable and safe with. “Like I don’t feel comfortable when work colleagues ask me about my childhood.“
By creating this sort of template you have a benchmark to assess when someone oversteps your boundaries. Your boundary criteria will evolve over time, so be sure to continually update your chart with your growing experience and resulting needs. After awhile you will not longer need this template. It will be in your long term memory.
2. Be assertive. Creating and starting boundaries is great but it’s the follow through that counts. The only way to truly alert others that, you boundaries have been crossed is to be direct with them. Being assertive, particularly if you are unaccustomed to doing so can be scary. So start small with something manageable and build up your assertive skill to larger tasks. I started being assertive with my partner with something very small. And something that might be silly to someone else. My partner would get home from work just as I was bringing in groceries from the car. He would walk right by me and not help bring anything in. It actually made me so mad. I would think of revenge. But, once I told him what I expected. He started doing it. In my mind it stupid to walk by someone and not help them. But, in his mind he thought I wasn’t a big deal.
Then work yourself to larger tasks like:
- Did the waitress get your order wrong? Ask her for what you actually ordered.
- Did the cashier over charge you? Ask for a correction to bo made.
- Are unwanted romantic suiters messaging you? Explain that you are not interested and would appreciate it is he or she stops.
- Is a distant cousin intruding on your dating life? Say you’d rather talk about something else.
- Is a work colleague pushing his or her work on you! Remind them that it isn’t within your scope, you are busy with your own work, and direct them to someone who will be of better service.
- Did a friend do something yo hurt you? Ask then to set you for lunch and explain why their words or actions hurt you.
3. Practice makes perfect. When you first start acting assertively, if it is a departure from your habitual state, you made be afraid that others will perceive you as mean or rude. But affirming your boundaries means that you value yourself, your needs, and your feelings, more than the thoughts and opinions of others. Being assertive does not mean that you are unkind, it only means that you are being fair and honest with them by maintaining your peace, dignity and self-respect.
After all, not informing someone that they have crossed a line to resentment on your end and confusion on theirs. The only way to set better boundaries is by practicing how to tell someone that they’ve crossed yours.
4. if all else fails, delete and ignore. Voice your boundaries first, then follow with action. As long as you have tied up loose ends and given family members, friends, and partners or whoever it may be closure from any promises you may have made, you no longer own them anything. If you have asserted yourself and made it clear to another person that he or she is not respecting your boundaries, it is okay to ignore correspondence from that point forward. Remind yourself of your own worth, and then no one has the right to make to feel uncomfortable or take your self-defined space away from you.