I explain why it’s so important to get clear on your personal boundaries and share top tips on how to protect them in my latest blog post.
What are personal boundaries?
We all have personal boundaries. Sometimes they can become blurred or unclear but they are always there. They are rules that we live by and allow us to make choices about what we will and will not do. They also tell us what we will and will not accept from others. Personal boundaries are unique to each and everyone of us. Often formed from a young age, they shape how we act and how we interact with people. Our personal values impact our boundaries. The Counselling Directory provides this definition, ‘Personal boundaries are the limits, guidelines and ‘rules’ that we set ourselves to ensure that we’re prioritising our own values and beliefs.’
Why are they important?
A person with healthy boundaries can say “no” to others when they want to, but they are also comfortable opening themselves up to intimacy and close relationships. If we feel able to say no to things which compromise our values and beliefs, we feel more self respect and value our ourselves and our opinions. This has a positive effect on our mental health, self esteem and confidence. Personal boundaries can protect us. When we are clear on what they are, we can say no more easily and avoid things which may cause us harm.
What is is the danger of blurred boundaries?
When we have no boundaries or feel unclear of what they really are, we are in danger of losing ourselves. We can feel out of control and struggle to say no to others. This can cause us to feel overrun and resentful but unable to communicate how we feel. The effect on our wellbeing can be highly damaging. When we have no personal boundaries it can be hard to make decisions. Life can feel meaningless and we can feel afraid about setting any boundaries or communicating them to people. It can feel selfish to have boundaries and this leads to a further breakdown of clarity about what we will and won’t accept.
What can cause blurred personal boundaries?
There are many reasons we struggle to maintain personal boundaries which include; not wanting to disappoint others, feeling scared of rejection, feeling the need to ‘save’ everyone by doing what they ask, we feel responsible for other people’s feelings, we are worried people won’t like us if we say no to them and have a need to people please.
How can life coaching help with creating and communicating personal boundaries?
During a coaching session, we have complete safety and confidentiality in the space I hold for clients so that they can be honest and open about their situation. It can be so helpful to really be listened to and articulate what is truly going on, either in the work place or at home.
Using a series of carefully selected questions and coaching techniques, we can explore personal values and beliefs. We look at whether these are aligned with the current situation. Sometimes simply remembering, ‘who you really are’ can be a total game changer. Then we can examine the reasons as to what has changed and why the boundaries have blurred.
We create a step by step action plan to help build confidence, self esteem and clarity so that it’s possible to recreate clear boundaries and then communicate them assertively.
What is the key to redrawing the boundaries for yourself?
It is taking ownership of our lives. We’re already good at being responsible for others. Now, we just need to change who we’re being responsible for. If we can become responsible for ourselves, we teach others what we will and will not accept. And we allow them to have the space to create their own personal boundaries too.