Why Is It Important to Have Personal Boundaries?
Boundaries are the limits and rules we set for ourselves within relationships.
I have been a coach for over 20 years. Like many coaches I wanted people to feel better and to solve their own dilemmas. I used to follow the two mantras’:
1- “I’m not happy until you’re happy.”
2- “I always think I can get better, that is why I am never satisfied and keep working on getting better.”
The second mantra was me working harder to better influence the first mantra. This thinking led to burnout, adrenal fatigue, insomnia and three incredible tough years of recovery. I was the fittest and, healthiest ‘looking’ burnout you will ever see. I worked myself sick trying to help others and make an IMPACT. Externally I was coaching and being positive, but internally, the negative narrative in my head was so strong, I wanted to quit. I was just a few weeks away from packing in my career. #truth. This is exactly why I reallyexpress that poor mental and verbal language will cause you to suffer. It will slowly kill your growth and even worse, badly influence relationships. We all know a ‘negative Sally’ that we try to avoid. But why?
That may have been fine except that I had relatively poor boundaries. I got caught up in other people’s problems and treated them as if they were my own. I was not protecting myself from being manipulated and used. I was not recognizing that I had a right to my own personal boundaries. I ignored the fact that boundaries filter out what is acceptable in my life and what is not.
The reason I ignored my boundaries is complex. It had to do with my belief about being accommodating, helpful, unable to say no, and wanting to be liked.
Learning about self:
First, I had to affirm my own needs. I knew that people with weak boundaries tend to have a low awareness of their own needs. So, I made an inventory of my needs and beliefs. I discovered that I had put my own needs further back on the shelf than the needs of other people.
If you want to assess your own boundaries, I suggest you affirm your needs. It will help you set “a line in the sand,” as it were.
For example, me, my that lack of boundaries started in my youth. I was conditioned that to deserve anything I must earn it. I must do my chores, behave and do as I am told – like a dog. If I did not, life was very very unpleasant. Be a pleaser or you will not be happy.
For you, I suggest evaluating your need for belonging and acceptance. Examine how well you have satisfied your need to love and be loved as well as be respected and have self-respect. The question is to what extent are your boundaries helping or hindering the satisfaction of your needs.
So why is it important to have boundaries? It’s important because healthy personal boundaries help maintain a positive identity. It’s important because I can take better care of myself and not allow other people to define who I am.
Types of personal boundaries:
Personal boundaries come in three brackets. Boundaries can be rigid, porous, or healthy. In reality, healthy boundaries can be a little rigid and porous depending on the situation.
Healthy: You have healthy boundaries if you:
(1) value your own opinion
(2) don’t compromise your values for other people
(3) appropriately share personal information
(4) are accepting of others when they say no to you.
Rigid: You have rigid boundaries if you:
1) avoid close relationships
(2) usually don’t ask for help
(3) have few close relationships
(4) may seem detached
(5) distance yourself to avoid rejection.
Porous: You have porous boundaries if you:
(1) over-share personal information
(2) have difficulty saying no to the requests of others
(3) get overinvolved with other’s problems
(4) tolerate disrespect.
You need to keep in mind that the relevance of boundaries depends heavily on the setting. What is appropriate when we are out with friends may not be appropriate when you’re at work.
Establishing healthy personal boundaries:
I became aware and decided that setting healthy boundaries was important for me, my goals and my relationships. I had to build and maintain the boundary between myself, my friends, and my clients. This process will not be easy because you may start to say ‘no’ to things and people and they may not be used to that. This can cause hurt or confusion. This will give you space and be replaced with you being to say ‘yes’ to things that are important to you.
Trust and believe in myself. I had to recognize that I was the best consultant on myself. I knew what I needed, wanted, and valued. I recognized that healthy boundaries allowed me to take better care of myself—emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. What I also realized is my relationships improved and grew stronger. The people who drove me ‘crazy’ had been replaced by people who gave something back. My team also got better. My business did not suffer like I thought it would, it grew! Who would have thought.
The point to this is that your needs and feelings are as important as other people’s needs and feelings. It is okay to say no. Being a people pleaser can put you at a disadvantage. Putting your life and needs on the back burner is never a good thing. I now advise that a certain amount of “selfishness” is necessary for healthy personal boundaries.
We all have a right to personal boundaries. We all need to take responsibility for how others to treat us. Boundaries are filters that permit what is acceptable in life and what is not acceptable. Boundaries protect and define us. We all need to set clear and decisive limits that others can respect.
Founder Integrity Fitness