If our lives are not working for us they way we want them to, then some things need to change. Boundaries for healing your life are essential if you have not managed to change things around for yourself in the past. Taking control of our lives and letting go of our tendencies to people please and never rock the boat can keep us sick, depressed and stuck in emotional and mental hell. Aside from developing some sort of plan and some sort of self discipline for yourself to implement a healing and transformation plan you will need to develop healthy boundaries. Being able to set and understand boundaries is vital in recovery from depression, substance abuse, burnout and trauma. Boundaries are what allow us to have a sense of who and what we are. They give us the ability to see how we differ from other people, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually. They exist to protect us and show us the road of least resistance.
“Set boundaries even when you’re scared, and when it doesn’t feel comfortable to do. Eventually setting boundaries will happen naturally for you”Melody Beattie
Boundaries and what they are!
Love can’t exist without boundaries, even with your children. It’s easy to understand external boundaries as your bottom line. Think of rules and principles you live by when you say what you will or won’t do or allow. If you have difficulty saying no, override your needs to please others, or are bothered by someone who is demanding, controlling, criticising, pushy, abusive, invasive, pleading, or even smothering you with kindness, it’s your responsibility to speak-up.
Different types of boundaries
Material boundaries determine whether you give or loan things, such as your money, car, clothes, books, food, or toothbrush.
Physical boundaries pertain to your personal space, privacy, and body. Do you give a handshake or a hug – to whom and when? How do you feel about loud music, nudity, and locked doors?
Mental boundaries that we teach at our depression clinic apply to your thoughts, values, and opinions. Are you easily suggestible? Do you know what you believe, and can you hold onto your opinions? Can you open-mindedly to listen to someone else’s, without becoming rigid? If you become highly emotional, argumentative, or defensive, you may have weak emotional boundaries.
Emotional boundaries distinguish separating your emotions and responsibility for them from someone else’s. It’s like an imaginary line or force field that separates you and others. Healthy boundaries prevent you from giving advice, blaming or accepting blame. They protect you from feeling guilty for someone else’s negative feelings or problems and taking others’ comments personally. High reactivity suggests weak emotional boundaries. Healthy emotional boundaries require clear internal boundaries – knowing your feelings and your responsibilities to yourself and others. Boundaries for healing your life depend on solid emotional boundaries! No exceptions.
Sexual boundaries protect your comfort level with sexual touch and activity – what, where, when, and with whom. Never are you responsible for another persons needs.
Spiritual boundaries relate to your beliefs and experiences in connection with God and a higher power.
It’s hard for co-dependents to set boundaries because they put other people’s needs and feelings first, they don’t know themselves well at all, they don’t feel they have any rights, they believe setting boundaries jeopardizes the relationship and may be rejected.
Boundaries for healing your life are learned and we teach them at our depression and burnout clinic. You didn’t learn you had rights or boundaries if yours weren’t valued growing up. Any kind of abuse violates personal boundaries including teasing. For example; Bullying can incapacitate a child in saying “no” or challenging others for many years, possibly promoting addiction. In recovery it is possible to gain the capacity to tell a masseuse to stop and use less pressure! In some cases, boundary violations affect a child’s ability to mature into an independent, responsible adult.
Internal boundaries for healing your life
Internal boundaries regulate your relationship with yourself. Think of them as self-discipline and healthy management of time, thoughts, emotions, behaviour and impulses. If you’re procrastinating, doing things you neither have to nor want to do, or overdoing and not getting enough rest, recreation, or balanced meals, you may be neglecting internal physical boundaries. Learning to manage negative thoughts and feelings empowers you, as does the ability to follow through on goals and commitments to yourself.
Healthy emotional and mental internal boundaries help you not assume responsibility for, or obsess about, other people’s feelings and problems – something codependents commonly do, followed by violating others’ emotional boundaries with unwanted advice. Strong internal boundaries curb suggestibility. You think about yourself, rather than automatically agreeing with others’ criticism or advice. You’re then empowered to set external emotional boundaries if you choose. Similarly, since you’re accountable for your feelings and actions, you don’t blame others. When you’re blamed, if you don’t feel responsible, instead of defending yourself or apologizing, you can say, “I don’t take responsibility for that.”
Guilt and resentment
Anger is often a signal that action is required. If you feel resentful or victimized and are blaming someone or something, it might mean that you haven’t been setting boundaries. If you feel anxious or guilty about setting boundaries, remember, your relationship suffers when you’re unhappy. Once you get practice setting boundaries, you feel empowered and less anxiety, resentment, and guilt. Generally, you receive more respect from others and your relationships improve.
A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not.Henry Cloud
Setting effective boundaries
People often say they set a boundary, but it didn’t help. There’s an art to setting boundaries. If it’s done in anger or by nagging – “I’ve told you 100 times . . .,” you won’t be heard. Boundaries are not meant to punish, but are for your well-being and protection. They’re more effective when you’re assertive, calm, firm, and courteous. If that doesn’t work, you may need to communicate consequences to encourage compliance. It’s essential, however, that you never threaten a consequence you’re not fully prepared to carry out.
Boundaries for healing your life take time, support, and relearning to be able to set effectively. Self-awareness and learning to be assertive are the first steps. Setting boundaries isn’t selfish. Its self-love – You say “Yes,” to you, each time you say “No.” It builds self-esteem. But it usually takes encouragement to make yourself a priority and to persist, especially when you receive resistance.
10 Boundaries for healing your life
- Put your space and time in your own hands and never do anything you don’t want to do. Ask yourself this D.T.N.M.S. which is an acronym for does this nourish my soul before you ever act. If the answer is no. Don’t do it. Put up a boundary.
- Speak up for yourself politely and humbly every time you feel your boundaries have been violated. An attempted violation should be stopped in its tracks. Just don’t fight, push or overdo it. State it. Whether anyone listens or not is their business.
- Ask for space, time and whatever else you need. Don’t ask for permission, just ask because you are becoming a good communicator of what is best for you. Say ‘ I feel’ like I need space rather than you think. No one can mess with your feelings. Replying in the moment is also key if it feels right.
- Don’t beat around the bush anymore. Addressing problems directly with the person involved, rather than with a third party can save tons of unnecessary stress and unhealthy thoughts and feelings about issues we complicate rather than act on with simplicity, honesty and grace.
- You’re not responsible for anyone else’s sexual needs only your own. Don’t be a martyr or the emotions that come with it will cut like a knife.
- If you don’t want to discuss it or are uncomfortable about a topic, don’t discuss it. Let it float by like a passing ship.
- If people invade your physical space, let them know, move, make a change that suits your own boundaries. Always be kind and honest. That will do it most of the time. If you want to have a short visit of 20 minutes for example with someone, say so and then keep the boundary.
8. Your opinion is your opinion. No one else’s. So don’t be afraid to state your opinion and hold it until you are ready to possibly change it. Not a second before.
9. Dont give money and then feel resentment, anger or guilt. You must choose what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. If people don’t respect or understand your decisions then they have work to do on themselves.
10. Select how much time you spend with energy vampires, gossips, negative people, blamers, shamer’s and the like. Where focus goes, energy goes. Hang on to your energy and set healthy boundaries with these types of people.
For more info on Boundaries for healing your life and how to heal from depression, anxiety, burnout, stress and all other issues attend our center. Put your healing first and you will transform your life.