Healthy Boundaries

Nov 6, 2016 by

Healthy Boundaries

Having healthy boundaries is vital to our sense of well-being.  If you are often uncomfortable with another person’s treatment of you than you probably do not have good boundaries.  Good boundaries ensure a mutually respectful and supportive relationship.

Depending on your upbringing and past experience, setting boundaries in relationships may be easier or more difficult for you. Often if we have had a parent, guardian or other person in our life during childhood who didn’t know how to set boundaries with us then we have to learn how to set boundaries in relationships. We have to learn when it is the proper time to set a boundary and how to find a balance in setting boundaries so they are not too weak or too strong.

Weak boundaries allow others to manipulate and take advantage of us and rigid boundaries can make us unapproachable on an emotional level.

Fundamentally, boundaries are meant to help us feel secure. They delineate where our (mental, emotional, physical) space ends, and where another’s may begin. When we have healthy boundaries, we take responsibility for our needs, thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and we allow others to have their own needs, thoughts, feelings and behaviors without taking responsibility or needing to somehow change them. When we honor our boundaries, we set limits and take adult responsibility for our experiences.

There are five types of personal  boundaries:

  1. Physical: personal space; affection and touching; sleep; self-care.  Physical boundaries are associated with certain kinds of trauma such as sexual or physical abuse, car accidents and some medical procedures.
  2. Emotional: feeling disrespected; being judged, criticized or belittled; allowing others their emotions without feeling we have to “fix” them; not having confidences violated.
  3. Intellectual/mental: respecting other’s opinions and viewpoints.
  4. Spiritual: allowing others to have their spiritual lives without feeling the need to change them, convince them, or force them to see things differently.  Honoring our own need for spiritual engagement or lack thereof without having to explain, justify or rationalize our chosen belief system.  Respecting our need to honor our spiritual values and not placing them beneath less important concerns.
  5. Energetic: which people are toxic to us and how can we minimize contact with a toxic person.  What kinds of situations do we find ourselves in that are chaotic, confusing, abusive and messy rather than joyful, loving and supportive?

Six steps to setting boundaries:

  1. Recognize and acknowledge your own feelings.
  2. Recognize how your boundaries have been violated.
  3. Recognize where you need to set your boundaries.
  4. Ground yourself (breathing)
  5. Verbally set the boundaries..
  6. Take care of yourself.






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