Do you ever come home at the end of a long day and feel like you have endured one thousand pinpricks to your soul? You said yes to skipping lunch to finish a co-worker’s task; you said yes to staying a few minutes late and it turned into an hour of unpaid overtime; you really wanted to spend the weekend with friends but said yes to a sibling who needed help with the kids so they could have their “me time.” Other people’s demands have crowded out your time to rest, restore, exercise, and reset your internal compass.
You, dear one, have sacrificed your unique and treasured self in the service of “not making waves” and for fear of “not being loved” if you do not perform. Your internal compass has turned away from your legitimate needs and desires and is now pointed in the direction of serving the purposes of others at the expense of your own well-being. You have sacrificed your personal boundaries.
So what is so vital about personal boundaries? They are the foundation of healthy living, intimate relationships, and emotional safety in all areas of your life. Personal boundaries are how we let others know what we value, who we are, how we honor and care for ourselves, and how others may safely and authentically relate to us. Healthy personal boundaries are the touch point of emotionally safe, relationally healthy, and sustainable relationships.
It begins with knowing what we need and what we value. Without this essential information, we are destined to stay locked in a repeated pattern of self-betrayal and betrayal by others. Personal boundaries are the pathway to empowerment, self-worth, and safety. A good place to start is understanding what is important to you! Consider taking a look at the Center For Nonviolent Communication’s Needs List and Feelings List. If you notice negative feelings about an unmet need, go to the feelings list and match the feeling you have about your need not being met. This is the beginning of understanding your needs and the areas in your life where personal boundaries need shoring up.
Personal boundaries come into play in many areas of our lives. Think about your non-negotiable boundaries first. Examples would be the scope of the work you agreed to in your job; making sure you have adequate time to care for yourself, and no longer being available to bail your sibling out of their poor planning. We can have different boundaries with different people and settings. For example, a good friend who just lost a loved one warrants some extra time and care.
If you are interested in learning more Contact Me to request a Setting Personal Boundaries Worksheet or receive information about my upcoming 8-week Workshop on Relationship Skills and Boundary Setting.