It seems like the word “boundaries” has become some-what of a trend or fad these days. So many have jumped on the “set your boundaries” train that it seems like the thing to do. However, what many don’t realize is that the work of setting personalized boundaries requires thought out processes and awareness because once you start to set them it creates a ripple effect. Sometimes one that many aren’t expecting.
What are actual boundaries?
Limits; an invisible line you don’t cross; or my favorite, stemming from Dr. Brene Brown, “the awareness of what is okay to me and what is not.” Boundaries are limits we set for ourselves that keep us safe yet also connect us to those around us. They give us space to be ourselves, knowing our limits and restraints while giving us energy to connect and be with others in genuine and authentic ways.
The art of setting boundaries starts with exploring how we overstep them ourselves. It requires us knowing what it physically feels like to cross our boundaries, and what conflict it creates within us. Like when we are dishonest or embellish and later feel our stomachs ache or become uncomfortable or when you decide to spend time with friends after originally saying no and later feel resentful and drained throughout the event. These physical cues are what tell us that we are making choices that go against our limits. Now this isn’t to be confused with cues that are driven by fear or uncertainty, i.e “stomach hurts when I give public speeches therefore I wont.” This is where support and counseling can help delineate and create awareness to what our bodies are saying and how to respond to it.
Once we develop this understanding, we strengthen a sense of trust within ourselves i.e “I am capable of taking care of myself and know my needs.” This is turn strengthens our ability to care for ourselves WITH others. We develop a new form of communication that asserts our needs yet does so in respective and clear ways. We strengthen our ability to say “no.”
The ability to say “no,” stop acts of people pleasing, or set limits for ourself creates the ripple effect many aren’t prepared for because as empowering and confidence boosting as it is to stand up for ourselves, it can be disheartening to see how it hurts or affects others. The need for boundaries is not to hurt others but rather to connect us in more authentic and genuine ways.
If I know me, and you respect that, I will feel closer and more connected with you.
Its an art to set boundaries because it gives us space to know ourselves and how we’ve come to be while giving us space to be with those around us and who they are. Having the awareness and skills to manage these varying feelings while understanding our needs and boundaries is essential to having healthy connections and can be what creates even deeper and more meaningful relationships.
If you are in need of counseling for relationships and are in the Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Alliance, Texas areas, reach out today.