By Annelize: We all need safe boundaries to live by, we often found ourselves tangled up in life and relationships that might not be working, where we feel unheard, perhaps unsafe, violated or even toxic. One thing that I learned from being in a co-dependent relationship for many years was that the lack of boundaries was one huge problem. And one step towards healing is creating healthy boundaries in my life. And yes, it was a huge thing for me, it was so confusing, so against who I am.
I need others to be happy, I must help everyone, I need to keep everyone happy, until I came face to face with my reality that I was miserable. That I was unhappy, having resentment, anger, hostility for my unmet needs, that I needed help, that I was at my end. Applying a few boundaries to my life and enforcing them was a life saver, but I needed to define these, and then enforce these. Lucky for me my friends and therapist helped me and supported me, when I didn’t even notice that a boundary was broken or overstepped, and so I learned, so I became empowered and so I became free, one little step at a time.
What is a boundary?
A boundary is defined as “a line which marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.” I like the words, a dividing line. What is me? What is not me? It signifies the line between you and me. The invisible separate line that divides me from another person. Where my responsibility ends and the other person’s start. I often talk about “my bubble”, trying to explain to my little ones that we each have a private bubble around us like Rhino, the hamster with the bubble around him in the movie, Bolt. I see boundary creation as an act of self-love. If I love myself, I will have healthy boundaries.
Why do we need personal boundaries?
We need to know where I am safe and where I am connecting with others. What I will allow happening to me, with me, around me and what I will not allow. When I do not know where I begin and end, I will not know where someone else begins and ends. Without knowing this we overstep into others personal space or we allow others to overstep ours.
How to create personal boundaries?
Creating boundaries is something we need to learn as little children growing up, but most often we are forced as adults to suddenly create these when we never even knew it existed. If we can be taught where we begin and end, what is acceptable to us, and what is not, many abusive relationships could have been prevented but also shortened. Equipping our kids with this is so important, we need to let them know that they are precious and that they have a right to say no, to anyone, that wants to violate their personal boundaries. It is good and acceptable to say No!
How does boundaries look like?
In my own life, there are certain things that are non-negotiable for me, and defines part of my personal boundaries, here are a few examples:
– If I can’t have a normal conversation with someone, then we don’t need to talk at all. No need for raising my voice, using sarcasm or any awkwardness.
– I will be happy, even if someone else is miserable. The fact that someone else’s day is not going well doesn’t need to influence my lovely happy day. I am not responsible for other people’s emotions.
– I will be talked to and treated with respect, and so I will treat others.
– I will look after my own needs first, then only after my needs have been met, could I assist to help others.
– It is OK to say no, so if I don’t want to, cannot or just do not feel up to it, I can say No.
– I always want honesty, and I am always honest.
– I will not be controlled or manipulated by words, tone of voice or deeds and I will try my best not to control or manipulate others.
These are just a few boundaries I had to create in my own life. It was hard and difficult to enforce, but it does empower one, makes you grow and feel more self-love. I needed to see that this is an act of loving myself, and not punishing others. It creates a haven that I can function within, that gives me breathing space to be myself, almost like my own sacred temple. Looking back, I cannot think that I had lived another way, that I never had any boundaries, looking at today I feel so proud of myself for growing and stepping up for myself. Let’s share with each other the most important boundaries that are non-negotiable in our lives. We learn from each other and by supporting each other, this enforces our personal boundaries, increases our self-love and create happy individuals that know themselves and can live a full healthy life. Boundaries were my life saver; it could be yours too!
Love and Light,