One of the very most important tools to use in our life journey is boundaries. It is something that many of us are not strong on, or really do not understand the importance of. In my work, this is one of the areas I encourage my clients and students to empower themselves with. It can turn your life around!
So what is a boundary?
Quite simply something you have communicated to another that is important to you, or having an agreement with another surrounding something non-negotiable. Examples could be: being punctual, not letting you down, not getting into debt, being honest, allowing you personal space, being faithful in a relationship, not swearing around you, sharing tasks around the home, and so on. Boundaries are unique to you and your personal needs. They are something you want another to honour and respect.
Why have boundaries?
- They allow us and others to feel safe. How can those around you know what is expected of them if you have not put boundaries in place? They will quite simply fail in living up to your expectations. If you do not tell people what you expect or what you need they do not have the clarity to fulfill your expectations of them.
- Once boundaries are in place, you get your needs met. If someone has just dipped their big toe over your communicated boundary line, you can just remind them of your boundary again and you have protected and ensured your needs are met. It need only be a gentle reminder.
- You set a good example. I certainly like to know where I stand with others and if your children, family and friends etc see you living your life with defined non-negotiables, they too may start to take your lead and start to play out their lives in the same way. From my experience, a clear boundary earns respect. Remember the teachers at school who were able to control the classroom, they were the ones with the clear and firm boundaries. Rarely would a child dare step over them. Be the teacher!
- They are a win win. Boundaries quite simply allow the space for you to love yourself and love others simultaneously. Loving another is not allowing them to get their own way, to walk all over you or to take advantage. Imagine all the love in the room from two people who respect each other’s boundaries. Less conflict and more positive energy. No brainer for me!
- It cuts the complaining and negative talk. If the boundaries are set, we reduce negativity in our life and we eliminate a load of frustration, disrespect and upset. We do not find ourselves in a complaining dialogue all the time. I don’t know about you, I would annoy myself, just hearing myself complain!
- We surround ourselves with people who respect our worth. Those that do not respect our clear and reasonable boundaries, really do not belong in our tribe. That said, of course give them a chance too! You will soon find out who has the same values as you. Alternatively you will also discover if their values are different which of course is ok, as long as they respect you enough to honour yours. Simple really.
What can happen when I initially set a boundary?
Ok, so be ready! If you have been someone who has not previously set boundaries, when you do, you might get a few strong reactions or a bit of a back-lash, but remember this is temporary. The kids may say “it’s not fair”, you might get a few strong remarks, huffs and stand offs, but believe me, as long as you are reasonable, clear and fair and stand by your boundaries firmly, you will get results. This is to create a better life in the long term.
Boundaries when instigated are change and change affects those around you. People do not like change or adapting to change, especially if it means they are no longer able to do whatever they like around you or to you! Do not enter into the energy or dialogue of an argument. End of.
So life is not easy. The spiritual path is not easy and boundaries are not easy. We need courage, self value and self belief. Going through this process will start to create the life you need to live. You may want to reassess your boundaries from time to time, especially as you grow and evolve. Your boundaries, just like you will change as you move through the journey of life.
Personally, I love a road with a sign post. I do not get lost and I know my journey. I adore a clear direction. I believe we all do.