Wishing you all a happy new year and all the best for 2019.
I find this time of year is a time of inward reflection. It is the end of the holiday season, start of a new year and we are in the midst of winter. Shorter, darker and colder days are upon us.
Many of us have come out of the holiday season having spent a significant amount of time with family and friends. The holidays might be the only time of year we see certain family members. I want to acknowledge how wonderful that can be but also how challenging it is for people who have strained relationships with loved ones.
If you are coming out of the holiday season feeling exhausted or even drained of your physical or mental resources you may want to consider whether the topic of this post is relevant to you. Some of the questions I want to explore in this post are: What are personal boundaries? Why are personal boundaries important? How can I set personal boundaries?
So lets get started...
What are personal boundaries?
Personal boundaries can be intellectual, emotional, physical, social and spiritual in nature. Boundaries are guidelines or limits that a person creates for the way in which other people behave around them. These guidelines create a reasonable, safe and permissible way for how people treat you. There is also a response when someone steps outside these limits by the person who created the boundary.
Why are personal boundaries important?
Boundaries come from a healthy sense of self-worth. Self-worth is not the same as self-esteem. I want to take a moment to explain the difference between self-worth and self-esteem. Our culture, in my opinion, places far too much value on self-esteem. Self-esteem is a general attitude towards oneself or a subjective emotional evaluation of ourself. Self-worth, on the other hand, is the ability to find intrinsic value in yourself. A healthy sense of self-worth is the belief that you are a good person who deserves good things. Setting personal boundaries is knowing your worth and what you are entitled to.
Boundaries are healthy and are a way to practice self-care and self-respect. Boundaries help you communicate your needs and set limits in a relationship. Boundaries allow you to make time and space for positive experiences and interactions.
How do I set personal boundaries?
When you feel anger or resentment, find yourself complaining or are depleted emotionally, you most likely need to set a personal boundary. It is at this point you will need to listen and watch yourself (develop self-awareness) in order to determine what you need.
Clearly define what your intellectual, emotional, physical, social and spiritual boundaries are with the people in your life. This includes intimate partners, family, friends, work colleagues and even strangers.
It is important to remember you are not responsible for another person's reaction to a personal boundary you are setting. The only thing you are responsible for is communicating your boundary in a respectful and assertive manner.
You may feel like you are being selfish or experience guilt or embarrassment when you first start setting personal boundaries. This is normal. Setting personal boundaries takes practice and patience. Please practice self-compassion and remind yourself that you have a right to self-care and are worthy of respectful relationships in your life.