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Creating and Maintaining Personal Boundaries

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Understanding how to establish personal boundaries is crucial for cultivating and sustaining healthy relationships and more importantly to honoring who we truly are. Over the past five years, I have delved deep into the subject of setting personal boundaries and am mastering maintaining them, embarking on an enlightening journey. Here is a fifth of the valuable insights I've gained:

While many individuals are familiar with the term "boundaries," they often lack a clear understanding of what boundaries truly entail. Boundaries are not rigid lines etched in the sand, visible to all as impenetrable barriers. Rather, they serve as a means of protecting our being and our energy. When we comprehend how to set and uphold healthy boundaries, we can avoid accumulating feelings of resentment, disappointment, and anger that arise when our limits are pushed.

Boundaries can manifest in various forms, ranging from strict and inflexible to almost indiscernible. Those with more rigid boundaries may maintain a distance from others, even in intimate relationships, and possess few close connections or avoid them altogether. On the other hand, individuals with looser or more open boundaries may become excessively involved in others' problems, find it difficult to decline requests, overshare personal information, or seek validation out of fear of rejection. The key is somewhere in the middle.

Individuals with healthy boundaries understand that clearly expressing their expectations serves two purposes: it establishes what behavior they will accept from others and communicates what behavior others can anticipate from them. If you possess healthy boundaries, you likely share personal information appropriately (neither excessively nor insufficiently), comprehend your personal needs and wants, effectively communicate them, value your own opinions, and accept when others set limits by saying "no." It's common for individuals to have a blend of boundaries based on different situations. For instance, strict boundaries might be set at work while more relaxed boundaries exist within the context of family and friends. Furthermore, cultural backgrounds can also influence boundary preferences, with some cultures discouraging the sharing of personal information while others encourage it at all times.

Understanding the different types of boundaries is essential to building healthy relationships in various contexts such as work, home, and social settings. There are six primary types:

  1. Physical boundaries encompass personal space, privacy, and bodily autonomy. Some individuals might feel comfortable with public displays of affection, while others prefer not to be touched in public.

  2. Sexual boundaries pertain to one's expectations regarding intimacy, and individuals may find sexual comments and touches uncomfortable.

  3. Intellectual boundaries involve respecting one's thoughts and beliefs, and breaching these boundaries occurs when someone dismisses another person's ideas and opinions.

  4. Emotional boundaries relate to a person's feelings, and some individuals may not feel comfortable sharing their emotions about everything right away, choosing instead to gradually open up over time.

  5. Financial boundaries revolve around money matters. For example, someone who prioritizes saving may be reluctant to lend money to a friend who indulges in trendy purchases.

  6. Energetic boundaries is vital across all areas mentioned above. When our energetic hygiene is lacking, our vibration, mood, and energy centers are unable to function optimally. For example, if a sibling pities me, the energetic frequency of pity can affect my own energy if I haven't set strong energetic boundaries.

Maintaining personal boundaries is essential for our overall well-being. According to psychologists, boundaries help us separate our own thoughts, memories, and experiences from those of others. While physical boundaries are often signaled by security alarms, recognizing when emotional and psychological boundaries are infringed upon requires relying on our internal alert systems. Feeling depleted, anxious, or wound-up after interactions with others can indicate breached boundaries. Establishing boundaries is not merely a means of defining our identity but also reduces our exposure to stress and the production of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, protecting our mental well-being. Boundaries also foster a sense of autonomy, allowing us to assert control over what we want and don't want, thereby ensuring our safety in relationships at work, home, and with partners.

Research has shown that blurred boundaries, particularly between work and home life, contribute to unhealthier lifestyles, lower levels of happiness, and an increased risk of family conflict. It can also cause blurry energetic boundaries. Hence, it is crucial to take charge of our boundaries and maintain them effectively.

To delve deeper into the subject and acquire practical tools for setting and upholding personal boundaries, I recommend signing up for the "Mastering Your Boundaries" course, commencing on September 7, 2023. This 10-week series will provide comprehensive insights, delve into the intricacies of the topic, and equip you with valuable skills in establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries.

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