Let’s talk about boundaries, shall we?
It’s another subject they need to be teaching in schools. (Maybe they are now and I’m out of the loop? If so, let me know in the comments. I’d love to know if they are).
I came from a home where my mom did everything my dad asked without question or comment. It’s an older generational thing. I wouldn’t say I was a pushover or acted mousey but I didn’t really understand what a boundary was until well into adulthood. Like most of us, I learned from my parents and surroundings.
Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know!
Unfortunately, I learned the hard way about boundaries by not having or enforcing enough of them. Furthermore, I didn’t realize that the tone and behavior I set for myself would determine how people treated me. Back then I just couldn’t understand why I always ended up with the most difficult team of patients on the floor (I’m a nurse for those of you who are new here. And welcome!) or why my ideas and accomplishments weren’t acknowledged while others who said the exact same thing were praised and put on a pedestal.
I’m happy to say I’ve learned a lot since my young adult years and have grown and developed self-love, self-confidence, self-care and healthy boundaries.
If you sat down to write a list of your boundaries would you know what they are?
Do you have a clear understanding of what your values are, what you stand for and will tolerate?
I think this is an important step for all adults to take to develop their maturity.
Here is my list of five boundaries everyone should have. These are broader ideas that you must clarify and define for yourself. Fine tune them to meet your specific boundaries. It’s a starting point and food for thought about your own boundaries or lack thereof.
1. Physical (and sexual) boundaries. You are responsible for saying no when someone touches you in any way that makes you feel uncomfortable. That can be anything from a hand on your shoulder, hug or sexual advances. An example of a healthy physical boundary would be if someone asks if they can touch your pregnant belly and you say, “Thank you for asking. That’s not something I feel comfortable with.”
2. Time. You have the right to say no without feeling guilty or giving an explanation. You are your own decision-maker when it comes to how much time you want to spend with someone. An example of a healthy time boundary would be leaving work on time so you can enjoy your personal time.
3. Intellectual boundaries include knowing your thoughts and beliefs and understanding what is appropriate to share and discuss with others. A healthy intellectual boundary would be keeping your views about religious rights and wrongs to yourself and respecting others the same way you would want them to respect you as well as not responding to others who try to convince you of their belief systems (even on the internet)!
4. Material boundaries include your possessions and money. No one has a right to take from you or bully you into giving. An example of a healthy material boundary is not co-signing for someone who can’t get a loan themselves.
5. Emotional boundaries are keeping your emotions in check and revealing them when necessary. Keeping up a wall of no emotions is just as unhealthy as over sharing. It’s just different. An example of a healthy emotional boundary is calmly and directly stating how something makes you feel and why. This doesn’t mean it’s not ok to be angry or sad. All emotions are valid and real. It means we can look beyond our anger or sadness and have a healthy discussion without losing it, even if it means we need to step away for a while to gather our thoughts and compose ourselves.
Remembering the following can help you to realize you are your own person and have a right to your own boundaries. We don’t have boundaries to spare other’s feelings. We have boundaries to keep our mental health in check and live the life we want to live.
If someone doesn’t understand your boundaries that’s their problem, not yours. You do not need to explain your boundaries to anyone at any time. Stick to your boundaries without insulting others or defending yourself. Then, don’t feel guilty about them and walk away from the situation. They’ll get over it. And if they don’t, so be it.
Do it for your mental health. Do it so you can take ownership of who and what you allow into your life so that you can live the life you’ve imagined.
I hope someone found some benefit from this. It’s a subject I’m sure I’ll be exploring again. If you like this type of content or benefitted in any way, please give this a like and consider following!