People often ask “what are boundaries, and what are they used for”?
Boundaries are a space between you and someone else that you set to protect yourself whether it is physical, mental, emotional, sexual, spiritual, religious, personal, workplace, financial, material ,and time
Boundaries are an important part of your they are very important to our self-care well being, and of course for our mental health.
Boundaries are not just for adults, but for children as well. When we are children we set boundaries without even knowing what we are making them. A child may ask another child not to sit too close to them in the sandbox.
When we don’t place clear boundaries for ourselves, we can find ourselves to be insecure about almost everything, and it seems that our thoughts are not our own, being controlled by other people.
Having set healthy boundaries for ourselves has many advantages, good mental and emotional health, we can help to influence other people’s behaviour by helping them to make decisions that could be good for them, it helps us to look after ourselves better so that we don’t burn out.
Poor, very little, or no boundaries can cause us to be angry a lot, make us feel not well without knowing why, have resentment towards others, have our emotions in turmoil, because we feel so stressed there could be other issues like financial burdens, relationship problems, and other negative factors that are not good for us at all.
Everyone has different boundaries, they also could be not the same for the people in your life, if you are in a romantic relationship with someone, your boundaries would of course be different from that of your children or someone at work.
When we learn to say a firm “NO” for something that we don’t want to do that is the start of setting healthy boundaries, you never need to explain yourself as over -explaining is weakening your boundary, no matter who you are it is up to you to do what you want or do not want to do.
A physical boundary could be asking people not to pat you on the back, or trying to hug you when you don’t want to be hugged. It could be someone talking down to you. Or even having someone in your home when you are not there.
Mental or emotional boundaries are there to protect your rights for your own feelings and thoughts. You are not responsible or accountable for how other people think or feel, and they are not responsible or accountable for your thoughts and feelings.
Here is an example: You have an argument with someone, during this argument the other person calls you an unkind name don’t respond to the name at this time. When the argument is over and everyone has calmed down, approach the person and ask them if you could talk about the name that was used, always own up to your part in the argument .Let them know that your feelings were hurt by the name, but don’t say “you hurt my feelings”. By setting boundaries with this person you could let them know that name calling is not okay, and in the future it would be great if they did not stoop to that level.
Sexual boundaries are very important to have, especially in a new intimate relationship. Talk with your partner make sure you both understand what each other sexual boundaries are.
Spiritual or Religious boundaries give you the right to believe in what you want to believe in. If you want to pray before you eat, go to church, or not do any of these things, with your boundaries set up you have the right to choose.
Workplace boundaries are sometimes different; they may not be set until after something has happened, like a co-worker walking into your office when the door is closed without knocking first, you could ask them to always knock; this would set a good work boundary.
Financial boundaries, it is up to you how you spend your money, and your choice if you want to give someone a loan or not.
Material boundaries are things in your possession. Possibly someone wants to borrow what you have, you are fine with that as long as they take care of it the way you would. Let them know how to take care of it so that when it is returned to you it is in the same shape. Always be clear, so that there are no resentments when the item is returned to you differently.
You may have time boundaries, some people you know are consistently late, give them a time that is earlier than when they should be there. Or you could let them know if they are not there at that time, you will be leaving, giving yourself permission to leave without guilt.
Some of the people may be too early all the time, let them know in a kind way that you feel you are being intruded on and you would appreciate it if they came at the required time so that you don’t feel rushed.
Not all of your boundaries are accepted by everyone, some of the people in your life will try to break them. Remember that these people do not have any of their own boundaries in place. When you around the people that continually try to break your boundaries, know it is okay to break ties with them. The people that break your boundaries do not respect them or you.
Whitevalley Community Resource Centre would like to thank our sponsors: Interior health and the United Way.
A weekly feature for Lumby, Cherryville, and area seniors. For more information about any of the following please contact Colleen or Jenny at (250) 547-8866 Whitevalley Community Resource Centre Office (250) 547-8866. Funding support provided by Interior Health, the Province of British Columbia (Community Gaming), United Way Southern Interior and United Way Lower Mainland.