Personal boundaries relate to any specific personal requirements or needs we may have. These are all very legitimate reasons to have boundaries (there may be other reasons):
- Values and beliefs
- Emotional and mental wellbeing
- Our own personal situation (eg financial or family situation)
Boundary requirements relating to values and beliefs
Values and beliefs are an important area which I will cover in greater detail over the coming months of my blog. For the purposes of this blog, it is important to say that everyone is entitled to their unique values and beliefs, and we should be able to have specific boundaries relating to them. For instance, don’t feel guilty telling your Aunt Mildred, for the tenth time, that you are a vegetarian!
Boundary requirements due to mental and emotional wellbeing
We may have certain requirements due to our mental or emotional wellbeing. Again, this should be perfectly acceptable. A good example of this is that if you are someone who is more of an introvert than an extrovert (ie you get your energy from within, rather than from being with others). It stands to reason that you may need or want to set some boundaries about how much time you spend with others. For instance, if you are going on holiday with several people you may wish to make sure that you have some time alone so that your energy levels don’t become depleted.
Boundary requirements due to health
Sadly, it can be more difficult than it sounds to put in place certain boundaries due to health conditions. Others may not understand or appreciate the full extent of our health concerns so we may need to educate them. Sometimes, even then, individuals in our lives may resist change if we say we need to do things differently. Furthermore, if you tend to be someone who puts yourself after others you may find it difficult to voice your needs. As with many types of boundaries, it is important that you spend some time reflecting on what you need and want. For instance, if you are going for a weekend away with your family think about what scenarios could arise and what would you like to do about it. For instance, what will the travelling arrangements be (where will you sit? Do you need to stop on the way?) or which activities can you / can’t you take part in? You can then be much clearer with others.
Situational boundary requirements
You may have specific needs or wants due to a particular situation you find yourself in. For instance, if you are about to have a child it’s prudent to think about what new boundaries you want to have in place. Perhaps you’ll decide you will expect family and friends to visit you in the future rather than you visit them. Or perhaps you are undergoing some financial changes, and this may require some new boundaries. Again, it’s important to be clear with yourself first about what you will need going forward and then you can be clear with others.
When setting any boundary, and I think this is particularly the case with personal boundaries, it is essential to ask ourselves if we are setting it for the right reasons or if we are being defensive and cutting ourselves off from valuable experiences or connection. For instance, you may decide that you aren’t going to travel into a particular city again to see a friend because you had a panic attack on the train. It is understandable to do decide this because panic attacks are truly horrible. However, do we really want to limit our life forever due to that one panic attack? On the other hand, I have a boundary not to go bungee jumping because it would scare the hell out of me! That is understandable because I am not going to get anything out of the bungee jump whereas you may get something positive out of visiting your friend in the city. In other words, don’t let your triggers rule you by setting boundaries that limit your world.
I hope that this has given you greater insight into personal boundaries and how they can help you unleash your goddess within!