Practising Boundaries

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How good are you at practising boundaries? Or are you still learning the importance of how necessary meeting your own needs is? Our childhood often reflects how good or less so the boundaries we hold are. For example: as a child you may have learned that having needs equalled you being made to feel like you wanted too much. So you became ignorant to your own needs in a bid to be ‘low maintenance’. Or easy going for other people. Maybe in order to feel you were loved you had to take on other peoples problems as your own and resolve them even when the person was entirely capable themselves? Sound familiar?

Perhaps you have an underlying resentment to someone who repeatedly leaves you feeling used or taken advantage of?

Lack of boundaries could look like saying yes to something when you want to say no to as you are already overcommitted. Whatever it looks like boundary setting can feel uncomfortable and even selfish.

It really isn’t.

For those who feel uncomfortable with the act of saying no, it can be great to practise boundary setting with lesser important people in you life. For example: at work a colleague is using your non dairy milk in their coffee. You can practise a boundary setting conversation, where you request that they no longer use your milk or perhaps they could buy the next bottle; whatever a good compromise is. By practising and keeping boundaries like this you can get a feel of how we can use and work through conversations with people we have less of an emotional connection to.

Setting Boundaries and Sticking to them

This one can be a tough one. Many people learn to set boundaries or have the initial conversation, but will not uphold the set boundaries once under pressure.

Parents are a good example. If we set a boundary e.g. ‘You must do your homework before you go out to play’. Then begin to let this slip, (maybe due to us feeling pressured or sorry for them) we are blurring the boundary lines and confusing the child. Without continuity we become confused of where a boundary actually lies. It can become a battle to re-establish the set boundary as the other person knows it can be voided in certain circumstances.

People can use this against us. Especially people that are good at manipulation. So its important to reinforce a boundary and keep them crystal clear.

Feelings of Guilt

When we are new to setting and upholding boundaries, it can feel quite uncomfortable when challenged. Often we do not want to be in a position to have to have set the boundary in the first place. However, we know its in our own best interests. An internal dialogue can take place where we ask if its needed. If we could just let it slip and accept the situation minus the boundaries. In short forgo our long-term needs to get out on the short term discomfort.

We could of course do this. By doing so though, resentment and anger will eventually build and will lead to an outburst elsewhere, to someone that may not actually deserve it. This is known as repression.

In any situation where a boundary needs upholding, its good to have a dialogue with yourself about the pros and cons of the potential losses and gains of letting a boundary go or keeping it. Are the 5 minutes of discomfort worth the repression of those feelings? Is it worth possibly hurting or projecting onto someone else the frustrations that may build up if you were to negate this boundary? These are the kind of questions you will have to ask yourself.

You are important As are your feelings and upholding a boundary with yourself that you are THE most important is biggest boundary we can set.

If you would like help with getting clear on how to set and uphold boundaries, get in touch

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