What Are Boundaries?
Do you keep hearing about boundaries? Are you wondering what they are? Well, we’re not talking about your garden boundary that’s for sure! We’re talking about where your needs start & finish, where the needs of others meets yours or in many cases clash!!
How often do you find yourself saying ‘yes’ to a request when your brain was saying ‘no’? How often do you do something that does not sit right with you, but you’d rather not upset the other person, or you worry about how they will judge you or think about you if you don’t comply? Are you a ‘peacekeeper’ allowing people what they need, even if it is not in alignment with your needs? Are you the one imposing your will or needs on others? These are all boundary issues.
Not maintaining your boundaries is a very important issue, it is an issue for many people these days, if you don’t maintain strong boundaries, you can become stressed, anxious & even find your health suffering. Immune system issues such as Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Lupus can often be tracked back to not having strong boundaries, being a strong person does not mean you have strong boundaries!
Many grandparents are finding this an issue, they agree to childmind the first child, then along comes number two grandchild. The parents often assume that the grandparents will continue with both grandchildren, whereas the grandparents are feeling two is too much, but how to get the parents to understand that it’s now too much for them as grandparents, after all, they are not getting any younger, they may even have ageing parents themselves to contend with. So, what happens? If the grandparents DON’T have strong boundaries, then the situation can become overwhelming, then resentment creeps in, now there is a situation that is hard to change because it has become the norm.
What about friends who always need something from you, they don’t seem to be there when you need them, and you’re fed up but feel unable to say something?
How about the boss that always springs a project or urgent overtime on you as you are going out the door? Colleagues who always assume you will do anything required by the company but never put their hands up for it. Parents who always expect you to do XYZ without asking or just refuse to hear you saying ‘no’ such as studying at a university they want you to go to or to follow a career path that they think is perfect but is not what you want?
Anything sound familiar? If so, you need to work on those boundaries, it will be ‘lumpy’ as people will be used to you saying ‘yes’ as that is what they want to hear! But by standing firm, putting your foot down and focusing on YOUR needs, you will change situations that involve a need for strong boundaries.
Why Do My Boundaries Matter
It is important to know that if your boundaries are not strong enough it often leads to self-worth issues, escapism via drugs, alcohol, food or shopping & gambling, it can destroy your self-confidence and spiral downwards, once people can feel your lack of strength, it’s like a shark smelling blood, suddenly everyone is taking the mick, trampling over your boundaries!
Often those who are chronically bad with their boundaries, already suffer from issues around their self-worth, fear being unpopular, need to people please and not rock the boat, lack confidence & can’t speak their truth.
How Can I Resolve The Issues?
The good news is, that by resolving the self-worth issues, the boundary issue can be taken care of too. So, if this article has resonated with you, find yourself a therapist, coach or counsellor & get to work on yourself, you’ll be happier for it!
In the meantime, write down which boundaries are important to you such as time-keeping, other people running late can mess up your whole day or leave you flustered before an important event such as a speech or presentation. IS the boundary about personal space or your room-mate borrowing your stuff without asking? Now, ask yourself, WHY is this an issue for you? What is this teaching you? What do you gain from it? There is always a positive, you just need to look for it.
Once you know what the boundary is, the effect it is having on your life, health & needs you are in a position to make a conscious decision to change it, it won’t be instant, nor will it happen without effort, the good news is though, life will be different & better for it.
You may find that those who cannot respect your boundaries simply leave your life, this is fine, they are the ones that have an issue with other people’s needs, they are the ones that need to learn awareness of others, so sad as it is, there is little loss here as they can only function in your life at cost of your needs, that is a price too high to pay.
Good luck, let me know how you get on with changing and erecting those boundaries.
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