What Are Boundaries and Why are They Important?

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 […]

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). Setting boundaries makes others feel safe around you and allows you to feel safe in your environment. It is a way to exhibit self-respect, thereby increasing the respect shown to you by others.

Boundaries…

· 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 others’

WHY ARE BOUNDARIES IMPORTANT?

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

Intact boundaries give 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.

This week give some thought to how well you set and maintain your own boundaries and honor the boundaries of others.

· What are your boundaries?

· Where do you draw the line?

· How do you react when someone sets a boundary on you?

Setting and maintaining boundaries is a skill that you can learn and that will feel more and more comfortable the more you put these behaviors in action.

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!

Copyright Dr. Jackie Black 1999-2005

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