The Importance of Setting Boundaries
In a previous post I stated that boundaries are vital in our lives as they dictate a healthy respect for self, as well as for others. To recap, boundaries are the invisible lines that we draw around ourselves that define who we are and what is acceptable.
Unsurprisingly, the topic of boundaries comes up with a number of my clients who have low self-confidence and self-esteem. As their confidence grows and they get more connected to ‘who’ they are, and as they get more grounded, they start creating boundaries in their life. These boundaries not only serve them, but also their work mates, their friends, their family and their partners.
Boundaries, self-worth and self-respect go hand-in-hand. If you have a lack of self-worth, you’re probably not that great at setting boundaries in your own life. Conversely, if you don’t understand or see the need for boundaries in your own life, you will often be unaware of over stepping boundaries in other people’s lives.
I know of one woman who for many years would do everything and anything for someone. She would assist them in their business and give away vital information. She would share her ideas – freely. She would be ‘overly helpful’. While in many instances this is a great way to behave, often it was to her own detriment as her ideas would be used by others and people would take yet give nothing in return. Was she giving unconditionally? No. Her giving was conditional because underneath she wanted to be ‘liked’. And what nestled under her need to be liked was a lack of self-worth. Did she have boundaries in place? No, because she didn’t value herself.
As a result, this woman often felt let down and resentful because others treated her with the same lack of worth as she felt towards herself. Because there weren’t any boundaries in place – for herself and for others – the cycle of a lack of self worth, helping others then being let down, continued.
The first step in being able to set boundaries is to build a healthy self-worth and self-respect, yet this takes time and commitment. One way in which to build self-worth is to take ownership of your own brilliance, greatness or gift you have to share. This could be your brilliance at networking, collaborating and meeting people. It could be your gift of being a very caring and nurturing mother. It may even be the ability to spot and articulate something of value, which no one else can see. When you begin to see and own who you truly are, and do more of that, then your sense of self-worth grows and boundaries can be more easily put in place.
Boundaries are very tied up with the first chakra. The “Muladhara” or “root” chakra is associated with stability, family, roots, and also with boundaries. When the 1st chakra is strong and robust and flows properly, our boundaries are strong. We know who we are, what we what, what truly resonates and if our boundaries are crossed we do something about it. The chakra system has been valued in the East for over 2,500 years and is considered a ‘hard’ science in Asian medical schools.
When you are grounded (1st Chakra) and in your body, you are more sure of your path, what’s right for you and what you ideally want. Being grounded brings a certain power as you’re in your body, not your head. For example, imagine you are standing and you are deep in focus in your thoughts. In other words, you're top heavy. Someone comes along and pushes you with their body. What happens? You topple over.
Now imagine you are standing there with your feet firmly on the floor as your energy, or your focus is centred on your abdomen in your body. Someone comes along this time and pushes you with their body. What happens? You stay standing. You don’t topple over. If you want to witness this for yourself, grab a friend and try the exercise so you get an idea of what happens when you’re in your body and what happens when you’re in your head.
Boundaries are a bit like not being able to be pushed over. That’s how vital they are.
I’ll give you an example of a boundary that I’ve set around anyone who teaches me – so that means when I attend a workshop, a conference, or undertake any study or coaching. If it doesn’t resonate with me, and if I feel disempowered, I will disengage. A couple of weekends ago I attended a workshop. I didn’t know the woman leading the workshop but I’d heard great things about her. It became very apparent very quickly however that this women was disempowering participants by telling them they needing fixing - by her. In the break I left. She crossed my boundaries so I honoured what I felt and did something about it.
If you want clarity around setting functional boundaries in your life, or if you acknowledge that you need to create boundaries for yourself, coaching could be the right step for you to take. Call or email me to get the ball rolling.