What are boundaries? Boundaries are limits that we set in place in order to protect our mental, emotional, physical, and our energetic well-being. They help us determine what we will and will not tolerate entering our lives. Boundaries may (or may not) be present in various forms of our relationships such as romantic, work/school, family/friends, and the relationship we share with ourselves. Why are they important? Understanding and creating strong, clear boundaries for yourself help you manifest a life that you feel comfortable and proud to live. Boundaries help navigate you towards attracting conscious, healthy relationships where respect goes both ways. By setting firm boundaries, you are also setting the tone for the quality of life you desire to have. From your ability to protect and honor yourself, the trust you share internally will also increase, giving you a secure and confident self-image.
How to create a strong, personal boundary? In order to create strong, healthy boundaries, it is necessary to be aware of what behaviors, actions, and words you find acceptable. Interacting with people while being able to witness your body’s emotional/physical reactions, as well as the shift in your mental state, will guide you towards understanding where you stand on certain terms. Determining your self-worth gives you self-respect and self-awareness, both of which play major roles for the boundaries you set. Cultivating the ability to communicate this to the people in your life creates the opportunity to build relationship(s) based on respect, bonding, and trust.
Remember, implementing boundaries into your life is a life long journey. As you evolve as a person, so will your boundaries. What used to be deemed as tolerable or acceptable in one chapter in your life may or may not be suitable for the next. That’s okay! Making adjustments in your boundaries is a sign of growth. They key is to be mindful of why you are re-drawing the line to make sure it is coming from within yourself, instead of an outer influence. Please, note as well, that setting boundaries firmly comes with practice that is strengthened with time. Do your best to stay firm and true to yourself!
What to do when a boundary is crossed?
You can identify if your boundary is being crossed by the sensations you feel in the mind and body. Your gut, intuition, and your general feeling of safety in the situation(s) are excellent indicators if a line is being crossed. Being able to identify a boundary not being honored will be easier if you have taken the time to identify them ahead of time and write them down. If you find that your boundary is in fact being crossed, then it is important to calmly and firmly communicate to the person(s) and remind them of how you expect to be treated. If the disrespect continues, say it more firmly while still remaining polite and centered. From there, you may determine what necessary acts you need to implement in order to keep yourself protected, honored, and respected while still respecting the other person.
A boundary is followed by an action plan. Be mindful of where you spend your time and share your energy. Make it a point to steer clear from situations that have a habit of over-stepping your boundaries. As well as giving yourself permission to be more present in situations that feel good. Remember to thank the people that honor and respect you. Appreciation goes a long way!
Styles of Boundaries
Rigid Rigid boundaries come from a defense mechanism to “never be hurt again”
Closed off emotionally
Keeps distance between self and others to avoid possible rejection
Detached from partners, family, and friends
Resistant to share and open up about emotions
Avoids intimacy and deep connection
Porous Porous boundaries come from a desire to “people please” in order to be accepted
Has a hard time saying “no”, or standing up for themselves
Bases personal self worth on how others see them
Accepts disrespect and abuse
Becomes an emotional sponge for other people’s problems
Clear Clear boundaries are formed by understanding personal self-worth and being firm when they are crossed
Creates healthy, bonding relationships
Lives by “Yes”, Stands by “No”
Properly communicates own emotions, boundaries, and desires
Respects other people’s boundaries
Forms of Boundaries
There are different forms of boundaries that will bring awareness to in our lives. They vary between our inner and outer world. Meaning some boundaries we will identify and set within the relationship we share with ourselves, while other boundaries we will identify and set in the relationships we share with other people. Throughout the course of your life, your boundaries will shift depending on your desires as well as the actions and behaviors you will find acceptable and unacceptable. Where your boundaries can be found and how firmly they are implemented is a good determining factor when observing your personal belief of your self worth.
Self The most important boundary to ever set in place are the boundaries that you’ve created with yourself. This is longest, most intimate relationship we will ever have the pleasure of experiencing, so creating a healthy relationship at the root of your being will help set the tone for the life around you! This can be practiced and strengthened by determining what you favor not only from other people, but from yourself as well. Staying rooted and mindful of the type of person you desire to be, while still allowing yourself to authentically grow and evolve as your life goes through shifts, are signs of healthy boundaries. A sign of weak self-boundaries may be continuously going against your better judgement, intuition, as well as constantly placing yourself in situations that make you feel uncomfortable and unsafe.
Physical Physical boundaries are a set of rules and limitations you have placed in regards to your body and personal space. You determine what forms of touch you are receptive to depending on your comfort level, mood, desires, and the type of relationship you are engaging in. Physical boundaries aren’t limited to touch, they also relate to how physically close someone may be to you and the ‘vibe’ you are feeling off of them. A boundary being crossed here is touch without permission and a sense of being violated from someone else’s energy.
Emotional Emotional boundaries are in relation to your feelings. Opening up about how you feel on the inside requires a level of trust, connection, and intimacy between the person you feel called to open up to. While of course there is nothing wrong with opening up, making sure the relationship has had time to solidify a foundation is important. An example of unhealthy emotional boundaries would be to overshare your emotional state to a person that you haven’t developed that close of a relationship to yet. As well as belittling, gaslighting, and criticizing your, or someone else’s, emotions.
Mental Mental boundaries are in reference to discussing your personal thoughts, opinions, and beliefs. Being able to interact in a conversation with another person over a wide variety of topics, while still being able to hold space for them, whether you both share the same perspective or not, is a sign of healthy mental boundaries. It’s important to be mindful of people’s upbringing and right to personal opinions. These boundaries are dishonored when judgement, criticism, and belittlement enters the dialogue.
Sexual Sexual boundaries are a mixture of the physical, emotional, and mental boundaries we have discussed, while adding on a sexual attraction to another person(s). Healthy communication, respect towards one another, and desire is a must to engage in any form of sexual or sensuous activity. Lack of sexual boundaries may involve sleeping with someone you don’t want to sexually engage with, any form of touch that wasn’t guided by consent, and sexual comments just to name a few.
Material Not all boundaries have to deal with who you are as a being, such as setting material boundaries. Material boundaries are boundaries set in place to protect your material possessions. Affirming your privacy is an important boundary. You get to choose who you share your things with, as well as for how long. A violation of this would be stealing, destruction of property, as well as pressure towards having to share.
Time/Energy Where we place ourselves, how long we place ourselves there, and with whom we place ourselves are a major indicators of our energy levels. Often times, we may find joy, peace, and adventure with how and who we spend our time with. While other times, the line is crossed when you demand or someone else demands more time than either one of you are able to energetically give.
This blog was brought to you by Self Love & Embodiment Coach- Jaqueline Michelle. Download the FREE ebook 'A Guide to Creating Strong, Healthy Boundaries in Your Life' for more tools and techniques from Jaqueline.