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Boundaries - Creating Ultimate Freedom
Boundaries - Creating Ultimate Freedom
Boundaries are an integral form of self-care that allow you to create clear guidelines and limits around your participation with relationships and activities. They exist to keep you in alignment with what you need and want in life and with how you want to be treated. They foster a practice of taking responsibility for your own behavior and choices and by declaring your personal values and protecting them from being compromised or violated. Boundaries serve as an internal compass and external guide that empower you to have sovereignty over your decisions while staying committed to living your best life.
There tends to be confusion with understanding who is responsible for upholding the boundary once it is communicated. The belief is that once you share the boundary with someone they will adhere to it. The truth is, this doesn’t always happen. Even though you have conveyed the boundary to someone, it still requires you to be responsible for making sure it is upheld. Boundaries are your sole responsibility to define, maintain and uphold as well as communicate, whether dealing with romantic partners, family, friends, neighbors or coworkers. Living life without boundaries can make it easy to lose yourself in work, relationships, obligations, or service to others. You can wind up being taken advantage of, exploited, having a lost sense of your own identity, and low self esteem. Without boundaries you are bound by the terms of others and are destined to feel restricted, confined and limited from experiencing the freedom of living a balanced and fulfilled life.
Boundaries impact every area of your life and understanding how to set healthy boundaries and spot missing or unhealthy boundaries can aid in creating the balance & harmony you desire.
I like to think of boundaries as your security system. They begin with the sign displayed on your fence line with instructions for entry. Then, the fence line around your property creates a perimeter that is visible for all to see and anyone stepping beyond the threshold causes your motion sensored security lights to turn on. Finally, your camera is enabled and captures any image that is approaching your sacred space and sends you an alert. These multiple layers allow you to be aware along the way of where your attention is needed, how you are feeling about the situation and what action needs to be taken.
Your sacred spaces are areas for creating boundaries:
- Time & Energy - Where, Who, What & Why (Self vs Others)
- Mental & Emotional - Thoughts, Opinions, Feelings & Values
- Material - Financial/Monetary & Possessions
- Physical - Personal Space, Privacy & Your Body
- Spiritual & Religious - Beliefs & Practices
- Non-Negotiable - Safety Of You & Others
Steps To Consider When Setting & Strengthening Boundaries
1. Use Self Awareness:
Look closely at all areas of your life and check in with yourself by asking how you feel about the state of your life. Where do you feel off track, depleted, frustrated, taken advantage of, taken for granted, burned out, short on time, powerless, resentful, hurt, unbalanced, unhealthy or unfulfilled?
Action: Consider this simple exercise to begin identifying where to place your focus with creating boundaries.
- Draw a circle and on the inside make a list of all the things that bring you joy, make you feel safe and are stress free.
- On the outside of the circle write down all the things that are causing you anxiety, pain, discomfort, exhaustion, and frustration. These are the things that need your immediate attention and focus with creating boundaries.
- The goal is to eliminate the entire list created on the outside of your circle.
2. Know Your Rights:
- You have a right to say “no” without feeling guilty
- You have a right to treat yourself with respect & to be treated with respect
- You have a right to make your needs and wants known
- You have a right to make your needs and wants a priority
- You have a right to take ownership for your behavior & choices
- You have a right to decline unreasonable expectations of you
- You have a right to protect your values
- You have a right to know your limits
- You have a right to say “yes” to what feels right for you
3. Communicate & Uphold Your Boundaries:
Boundaries draw a clear line around what is ok for you and what is not. When someone behaves in a way that doesn’t feel ok to you it is important to let them know and to communicate a line that is much clearer.
There are many ways to communicate boundaries for different situations that can help you build a practice with conveying boundaries appropriately. Here are some phrases that may help. https://www.prdaily.com/59-phrases-to-help-you-set-boundaries/
- Be clear and precise when setting boundaries
- Be timely & respectful when communicating
- Be respectful and assertive with your tone & language
- State the consequences YOU are prepared to take if boundaries are broken
- Consider re-establishing boundaries with the relationship you have with the person rather than the situation if boundaries are consistently being broken.
Benefits Of Healthy Boundaries:
- Encourages autonomy
- Sets expectations when interacting with others
- Gives you a sense of empowerment and self-respect
- Ensures your physical and emotional well being
- Clarifies individual responsibilities in a relationship
- Identifies your wants, needs, and feelings about a person and situation
- Strengthens relationships and builds trust
- Protects physical and emotional space
- Creates equal partnerships with shared responsibility
Boundaries are personal and differ from person to person because they can only be created by YOU. Setting boundaries creates a foundation for having a healthy and caring relationship with yourself and with the other people in your life. Boundaries are one of the key indicators for where a person needs to place their focus when beginning on the coaching journey. It opens the door for the practice of self awareness and understanding how to set limits and define personal values. Boundaries are essential to living a balanced, harmonious and joyful life where you are free to be yourself and create what you desire without restriction or restraint. Boundaries allow you to live your life the way you want.
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