If your life is filled with more of what you don’t want and not enough of what you do want, it’s time to set your boundaries.
Setting and keeping your boundaries and honoring the boundaries of others are among the most challenging and confusing behaviors in relationships. Boundaries are innate and natural to everyone. Each of you has your own internal indicator of when a boundary is being violated. A boundary, when crossed by others, will create intense feelings of anger, hurt or outrage inside you.
WHAT ARE BOUNDARIES?
Boundaries define a person’s sense of self (i.e., who he or she is as an individual). As a single man or woman in the dating world, setting boundaries makes others feel safe around you and allows you to feel safe in your environment; no matter where you decide to go. It is a way to exhibit self-respect, thereby increasing the respect shown to you by others.
- Help other people know how to treat you
- Define your sense of self
- Delineate how much you have to give of time, money or energy
- Are dividing lines between you and everyone else that represents both physical and emotional limits others may not violate
- Separate your needs, wants, desires, thoughts and feelings from those of other people
WHY ARE BOUNDARIES IMPORTANT WHEN YOU’RE SINGLE?
Each of us experiences our reality in four ways:
- Body – what we look like
- Thinking – how we give meaning to incoming data
- Feelings – our emotional response
- Behavior – what we do or don’t do
When you’re single and meeting lots of new men and women it is essential to pay attention to your actions and reactions and your interactions with others.
Intact boundaries give you a measured protection to your body, thinking, feelings and behaviors as you evaluate and assess the words and actions of other people in your life. You filter your experiences through your cognitive mind and your feelings.
Through the use of your boundaries you determine which words and actions you will accept and which you will block when they are unacceptable.
We set boundaries to protect our body, thinking, feelings and behavior.
Again, when you’re single, dating and meeting lots of new people, being willing and able to set and maintain your boundaries is essential to your personal safety – physically, mentality and emotionally.
If you are not certain about the behaviors of others that are acceptable and unacceptable to you, then how will you be able to (1) know that you are not being treated with kindness and respect; and (2) how will you say “no” to the bad behaviors that put you at risk, physically, mentally and/or emotionally?
We all know single men and women who repeatedly give people they date the benefit of the doubt; or make excuses for bad behavior over and over again. When you set and keep your boundaries and honor the boundaries of others you will be proactive; able to act on your own behalf; say your real “yes” and your real “no” with clarity and confidence; and keep yourself safe!
- What are your boundaries?
- Where do you draw the line?
- How do you react when someone sets a boundary and asks you to honor it?
Setting and maintaining boundaries is a skill that you can learn; a skill that will feel more and more comfortable the more you put these behaviors in action; and a skill that, as a single person, you will come to depend on to help you sort all the experiences that you will have with the new people you are meeting.
Remember, only YOU can make it happen!
Copyright Dr. Jackie Black 1999-2008
We grant permission to republish with the following appropriate attribution:
By: Jackie Black, PH.D.
Relationship Educator, Author and Coach