The Value of Boundaries
“Most of your problems would disappear if you had some solid personal boundaries.”Anonymous
WHAT IS A BOUNDARY?
A boundary is where you draw the line on how people treat or interact with you AND how you treat or interact with yourself. It is a limit that promotes integrity, preserves vitality and advances relationships. Boundaries consist of the limits of what we consider safe and appropriate, according to our unique set of feelings and reactions, individual perceptions, values, goals, concerns, roles we choose to play, etc. Boundaries also tend to vary according to culture, age, gender, race and so on.
Boundaries can be set for any area of your life and here is what they may look like in the main areas of the human experience:
Finances: I can only give you R500 per month
Spiritual: I only pray with people that have the same beliefs as me
Recreation: I have “me time” once a month for a full day
Intimate relationships: I can no longer accept this type of behaviour
Friendships: I can only hang out with you on a Saturday.
Health: I do not eat at take-away restaurants.
Career: I can no longer help with putting your report together.
Personal development: I do not hang out in certain places.
For boundaries to be effective, they must be made known, continuously enforced and have consequences. In other words when someone (or yourself) violates your boundaries, what will the consequences be?
To set and enforce boundaries can be a challenge; however, there is much to be gained.
- For protection and personal security
- To create order
- To define ourselves clearly
- To gain a clearer sense of ourselves in relation to others
- To empower us to determine how we will be treated by others
- To keep us focused on who we are
- To achieve our long-term goals
Before you set boundaries, first build up your courage and confidence to withstand any resistance you may face.