We change our behaviour when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.”
I’ve written Facebook and Instagram posts for the last few days, about the importance of boundaries. I've focused so far on personal boundaries. ( I thought I would try and put the main takeaways into a blog ( if your anything like me and can't find anything twice, once I've scrolled past it, it's probably gone for good)
Boundaries are often thought about in terms of helping us to learn right from wrong. They can also help us to establish our comfort zones, what it is that we value when thinking about our own personal space and feeling safe.
Let's consider the workplace. This is one of the areas in life where there are likely to be guidelines, policies and procedures to help guide us, they will give us a framework, goals and targets to work towards, depending on what it is that you do to achieve the best possible outcomes.
As a counsellor/ therapist I adhere to the BACP ethical framework to help me ensure I am always working in your best interest.
Our boundaries can help set the limits for what we are comfortable with, it sets the tone for what is acceptable behaviour for us and others. They also give others some indication of how far they can put us, put you down, make fun of us and take advantage of our good nature
At times in our personal lives, we might neglect our own boundaries to please others and whilst it may make them happy it can mean we begin to feel anxious, resentful and angry.
Some common ones are:
The more that we recognise, when our boundaries are becoming blurred the quicker we can work to rebuild them.
When our personal boundaries are overstepped, it can mean that unhealthy boundaries are developed affecting the way we feel and think about ourselves, finding ourselves uncertain of us we are, before we know it our identity has become mixed up with others, lowering how worthy we feel, we can feel somewhat out of touch with our feelings.
Setting boundaries does not always come easily. It's often a skill that needs to be learned. As children, we often learn through observation and imitating the behaviour of those around us. If we didn't have anyone to show us the ropes (black country dialect) in other words model the behaviour expected from us it can be tough.
We all want to be liked, so it’s not uncommon when thinking about doing this, that we are met with some anxiety (we talk about this in our staying calm in the face of COVID blog) and feel scared that rebuilding boundaries will push people out of their lives or risk being called selfish. Putting you first doesn't make you selfish. It means you recognise that you can not ignore or deprioritise you and expect to have a self left.
Stick with it!
I know a lot about boundaries now, what do I do?
List the boundaries you want to rebuild or strengthen. This can help make the process more concrete in the form of a structured goal, consider what this looks and feels like right now, and how it will feel once it has been rebuilt.
Okay, but I wanted to be able to help myself how can I?
Begin with the following steps
Step 1 : Know your limits
Think about your experiences, past and present notice when things didn't feel comfortable for you, times when you felt frustrated with someone. This will help you to recognise when your boundaries and being crossed. You could also consider what actions you could take to lessen those feelings of discomfort to feel safe again.
Step 2 : Be assertive
Being assertive often means we need to explain what we want and need, this can be challenging if we are normally the people in agreement with others.
It may feel strange, to begin with, remember we don't have endless amounts of energy, we are human and will feel tired, don't let keeping others happy mean they take away yours.
As always we are all individual, and what works for one person may not work for another. Please feel free to take what you need, adapting it to suit you and your needs.
Still have questions or want to discuss this further