How To Create And Protect Personal Boundaries

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How To Create And Protect Personal Boundaries
How To Create And Protect Personal Boundaries

Video: How To Create And Protect Personal Boundaries

Video: How To Create And Protect Personal Boundaries
Video: How to Create Healthy Boundaries and Protect Your Energy 2023, March

It would be convenient if each person was accompanied by clear instructions - do not touch here, do not touch this topic, the following is permissible in sex, views are moderately open, I don’t lend. It would also be delightful if this instruction changed in real time, adjusting to our new needs, periods in life, certain people, personal crises and discoveries. But such a document is not issued anywhere, so others can only guess - by indirect signs and personal interpretations - where everyone's comfort zone ends. What is already there, even the person himself does not always realize what is good and what is bad.

Personal boundaries are invisible to anyone, but very important “fences” that separate a person, his habits, aspirations, actions and thoughts from the outside world. They are needed to protect the person and what is valuable to her - time and energy, emotions and feelings, cultural, religious and ethical values, sexuality, personal space and even things. Too high, impenetrable boundaries can isolate from the world and lead to loneliness. Lack of boundaries threatens with loss of identity and stress from constant external intervention.

Why build personal boundaries

Strong yet flexible personal boundaries help build healthy relationships with the outside world - with partner, family, friends, colleagues, and management - that keep them from becoming psychologically dangerous and sometimes physically abusive. These same boundaries gently protect our self-esteem, help us prioritize and maintain a balance between different areas of life.

Flexibility is one of the most important qualities of personal boundaries. They can change with respect to different people and situations, and this is completely normal. No one can accuse you of double standards and hypocrisy if a certain context makes communication with someone or a situation uncomfortable for you. On the contrary, flexibility of boundaries helps us to correctly distribute energy and not to waste it (or on the inner struggle with discomfort).

Close to your heart: what is high sensitivity and how to live with it

Finally, as paradoxical as it may sound, it is the boundaries that help us to be vulnerable - to allow ourselves to be weak, imperfect, and therefore alive. For example, you are in a crisis. Under pressure from outside - when loved ones intervene with unsolicited advice - you want to close yourself off from everyone, which can only aggravate the condition. On the contrary, if you realize and voice that you are not yet ready to discuss your condition, it will be easier for you to take the first step - to break your own boundary and enter into a frank conversation when you feel safe.

Shot from the series "Sex Education"
Shot from the series "Sex Education"

Still from the series "Sex Education" ©

How to set personal boundaries

Our upbringing, culture, mentality and signs of the time, personality and character traits, life experience, family relationships and current life situation - all this affects how we subconsciously form personal boundaries. In order to understand them, you can answer several questions.

What are you entitled to?

This is a simple but important question - it helps to remember that everyone has basic rights that they can exercise without a twinge of conscience. The right to say no, refuse an offer, and not feel guilty. The right to count on respectful attitude towards oneself, to think about one's desires and needs no less than about the needs of other people, the right not to live up to someone's expectations and - what is very important - the right to make mistakes. This is the minimum that you can use to define your personal boundaries.

What do you feel?

A situational question worth asking yourself periodically in a variety of situations. How do you feel when a friend wants to discuss your love life with you. What do you feel when you have to stay in the office again, when someone asks a question about your life situation, touches on the topic of politics, asks for a loan of money or some thing.

Obvious signs of discomfort:

  • dry mouth;
  • heart palpitations;
  • sweating;
  • irritation.

What do you value?

Personal boundaries can and even need to be built in accordance with your values. If you haven't already identified them, you can brainstorm, write out the main ten, and then reduce first to five, and then to three. Get a short list of basic and very important landmarks in life. How often do you have to step over them? What things, people and situations in life make you live contrary to your ideals? Understanding this will help identify pain points.

Shot from the series "Sex Education"
Shot from the series "Sex Education"

Still from the series "Sex Education" ©

How to gently protect personal boundaries

When you understand what exactly you will protect, you can move on to the question "how". The main thing here is not to slip into aggression and listen to yourself. Borders tend to change, and it is better to track their movement in time.

Be persistent

There is a big difference between persistence and aggressiveness. The first instills respect, the second - fear and retaliatory aggression. Persistence does not imply bargaining, half-hints and different readings, but does not lead to accusations and attacks on another person. “Don't you dare touch my things” sounds aggressive. “I want to know that I have a safe place where I can write my thoughts. Therefore, I am uncomfortable when you climb into my diary. Please don't do this anymore,”sounds convincing.

Learn to refuse

Sometimes you don't have to be persistent in explaining why something is uncomfortable. It is enough to say “no” right away and thereby get rid of future problems. Unfortunately, since childhood, we cultivate a tolerance for discomfort - we learn to do what we don’t like and to agree to things that we don’t want. Many are under the illusion that living for the sake of others will make them popular and loved - it seems to us that in no case should we refuse, otherwise we will remain lonely and unnecessary. But, as the old joke of psychologists goes, one can say that therapy bears fruit when the patient ceases to be liked by everyone in the world. Because this is impossible when competent personal boundaries are built. And they need to be respected - both their own and others'.

If your interlocutor stops looking at you, nods nervously, looks unexpectedly agitated, or just calmed down - slow down and close the topic. Or gently ask if everything is okay. After all, personal boundaries may not be visible - they can be felt with a little care.

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