Select Page

Day 2. Boundaries Must Be Two-Fold

Boundaries are how you show respect for you and others and are an expression of your self-esteem.

Whether you have boundaries and how you recognise and embody them, lets people know how you feel about you.

When you embrace healthy boundaries for you, you embrace healthy boundaries for others because you honour the separateness instead of merging and blending, which can lead to codependency. It also ensures that you don’t do things from a place of trying to take ownership of other people’s feelings and behaviour while forgetting about your own.

When you experience discomfort due to knowing that something doesn’t feel good and right for you, you might wonder, Do I need to set a boundary about that person’s behaviour or my own?

In order for boundaries to respect you and others, they need to be two-fold. This means that yes, you might have to say or show something to the person in question, but you also need to address the boundary on your end. If something, no matter how small it is, doesn’t shift on your end, you not only remain open to experiencing the issue(s) again in a similar way but you also won’t acknowledge whatever insight it is that you stand to gain that will not only enrich your understanding of you and your experiences but leave you feeling empowered.

Acknowledging your part no matter how small is not about taking the blame and ownership of whatever it is that you dislike; it’s about recognising that you can only truly know the scope of and control and amend your own responses. You can choose how you want to conduct yourself and how you want to respond to feelings, thoughts, your actions, those of others and events, but what you cannot choose or control is what others think, feel or do.

You have to take care of your side of the street, and you have to be what you seek from others.

For example, I felt furious and upset about something my mother-in-law did. I did not provoke or create her behaviour but what I did have to acknowledge is that I needed to reflect the feedback of that event and my discomfort about it into my subsequent actions and thinking. My line was made clear. I also took responsibility for my subsequent feelings about it – in my understandable anger, I did cross into giving myself a hard time and near bathing in the injustice of it all, and it led to me feeling even worse. I had to own that in order for it to truly change.

Boundaries are for you first and foremost. Take care of you, and you take care of your relationships. One of the mistakes that many make in trying to have boundaries is seeing them solely as a means of guiding and directing or even ruling others, but boundaries are for you. You cannot know in advance every move that every person is going to make so while part of it is about choosing who to engage with, it’s also about being conscious, aware and present enough to recognise the discomfort from your boundaries being pinged and responding to it.

Others know the line when you know the line.

As our actual boundaries are not visible in the sense of each of us being able to automatically see at a glance what the lengths and breadths of a person’s boundaries are, the only way in which you can actually have boundaries is to know and communicate them through what you say and do (or what you opt not to).

Everyone’s boundaries are different, and we are each responsible for letting others know where we and they stand with us.

Communication isn’t all verbal so how you show up each day and within your relationships lets the people within them gather information about 1) who you are (or who they think you are) – your values, 2) your intentions, 3) how your regard them and 4), what you’re prepared to tolerate.

People cannot read your mind, but they can read your actions which is why it’s so vital to match what you do not just with what you say but also with what you think – congruency. This removes ambiguity and mixed messages, but it also ensures that you don’t undermine yourself.

 

The TAKEAWAY

  • Boundaries are about knowing the lines of responsibility – you can liberate you from taking ownership of other people’s behaviour.
  • When you recognise that you can differentiate between a person who has a boundary issue and a person who will respect that same boundary, you can adapt your responses and recognise the difference in relationships.
  • It is absolutely OK to let a person know when something doesn’t work for you, but it doesn’t mean that they’re going to feel duty-bound or in a position to change it. They are coming from a different level of awareness and may not see their intent and actions with the same eyes that you do. Rather than making the primary focus getting them to change and amend their behaviour so that you feel better, get on with doing what you need to do for you so that you feel better.
  • Taking responsibility for you and adapting your responses, for instance, in terms of attitude and mentality about the person in question, does not in any way mean that you are taking responsibility for their actions.
  • A person cannot know a line that you haven’t communicated.
  • Just because others are OK with something that you aren’t, it doesn’t invalidate your boundary. We are all different, and we’re all unique and informed by our own experiences, habits, motivations, fears, ideas, beliefs and opinions. As a result, you cannot rely on ‘everyone else’ defining your boundaries for you– they’re not making your journey.
  • What you think needs to match what you say needs to match what you do. Big hint – you always know that you are not honouring you when how you act on the outside and what you agree to doesn’t reflect how you feel and what you want on the inside.

JOURNALING: Can you think of instances where you have wanted somebody to amend their behaviour? What, if anything, did you do on your end to be boundaried? If you didn’t, can you identify what you could do in order to improve your feelings and position, even if the other party remains as they are?

 

TASK: Think of the top 5 things that really wind you up about others and even leave you feeling bad about yourself. What can you do to positively alter your response so that you are less impacted by them? e.g. I used to feel as if I’d been held hostage on long draining calls by my mother until I acknowledged that I had a choice in the matter and chose to limit the call lengths and opt out or speak up when I felt uncomfortable so that I could actually enjoy a call when I was comfortable.

We are moving to a new site! Set up your new login by 30th April

X