We hear and read about setting, applying and upholding of boundaries often across social platforms, but what are they?
What are these boundaries, and where do they come from that it is so incumbent we practice and place them in our lives?
Below, I discuss boundaries specific to interconnected love interactions and family and friend relationships. Even though I decided to concentrate on those, the application is relevant to all living spaces. Furthermore, a general understanding of what they are and how to set, apply and uphold them will be covered.
Boundaries are there to protect our overall well-being. It communicates what is acceptable and what isn’t concerning our general safety. Moreover, it allows us insight into what safety and tolerance look like for ourselves so that we can thrive and not live in fear. Boundaries also give us a sense of self, our life values and how to uphold them.
Control regarding how to set, apply and uphold boundaries
When setting your boundaries, you’re expressing your own needs in a clear & direct way. Boundaries are never to be punitive or controlling—but it’s sometimes not easy to tell the difference between a healthy boundary & an attempt to manipulate or control when you’re on the receiving end.
Focus on your own emotions, thoughts, & reactions.
Let go of any that are ineffective & keep you stuck. Please take responsibility for your wants & needs & don’t leave it up to someone else to meet your needs. Seek out what you need only from those who are willing & able to give to you freely in your healthy, loving connections.
Remember that you can & should only control your actions, reactions & processing.
You get to choose when, where & how to set your boundaries. You get to decide when a verbal limit turns into a physical boundary – by creating physical distance &/or removing yourself from that space & taking further action.
Understand that these decisions must be informed & come from a healthy space not to become the hurting party whilst setting a boundary not to be hurt anymore. Check your responsibilities & make sure you clearly state your needs so that the burden does not transfer to someone else unwilling.
Control of yourself comes from your self-healing, reflection & growth mindset. It is incumbent to sit with the shadow work to empower yourself with the ability to set & uphold healthy boundaries in your interaction, communication & connection circles.
Execution of setting, applying and upholding boundaries
We should not mince words or paint beautiful pictures like candy-coated vegetables when setting boundaries.
Setting & respecting boundaries is an integral part of establishing one’s identity & is a crucial aspect of mental health & the well-being of ourselves & others.
Boundaries can be physical or emotional, big or small & they can range from being loose to rigid, with healthy boundaries often falling somewhere in between.
Boundaries should be precise, direct & clear. There should be no space in setting a limit where one should read between the lines; one should explicitly state the limitations.
‘Please do not call me unless it is a life & death emergency in the literal sense of that statement. Feel free to message me between 8:00 am & 6:00 pm any day of the week.’
‘I can’t always hold space for you & it is tough to deal with when you suddenly offload on me, so can you please ask if I have capacity first, moving forward from this moment here before you send me a well-explained message of everything.’
These are just thumb-sucked examples, but you can get the gist. Make sure the message in your boundary is specific in landing.
Establish what boundary you wish to set:
Physical Boundaries, Sexual Boundaries, Emotional or Mental Boundaries, Spiritual or Religious Boundaries, Financial and Material Boundaries, Time Boundaries & Non-Negotiable Boundaries.
Keep in mind the following:
- Ask permission.
- Take one another’s feelings into account.
- Show gratitude.
- Be honest.
- Give space for autonomy & avoid co-dependency.
- Show respect for differences in opinion, perspective, & feelings.
- Sit with the other person’s communication of emotion if it is fair.
- Enjoy some self-reflection.
- Start small.
- Set them early.
- Be consistent.
- Create a framework.
- Feel free to add extras.
- Be aware of social media.
- Talk, talk, talk.
The recovery before and post setting, applying and upholding boundaries
Whether you may need a few days of space on your own, a good meal, a conversation with healthy connections & support or a day in bed, you should do it.
Give yourself what your body, mind & emotional state needs pre & post-boundary-setting to process & move through all of the feelings which may arise or come with this action. Also, allow yourself to reflect on the whys of those recovery needs.
Allow yourself grace in your healing journey. Importantly, set small boundaries to create successful attempts which fuel confidence. As a result, setting small boundaries encourages brave hormone excretion and preps your brain and mental state with stronger internal connections. The areas responsible for change become charged to take on more significant & more difficult boundary-setting or respecting actions.
These indeed work both ways. A person who can respect the boundaries of others is more comfortable setting boundaries with those people too.
Those who constantly break & overstep the boundaries of others will usually call controlling behaviours boundaries. They may also refer to healthy boundaries as controlling ones. Still, those are not coming from a healthy space & can therefore be very toxic for all involved in the interactions. Be careful what you label toxic and how you use the word to title others and their actions.
Recovery is essential. Offering oneself the soothing needed, whether on the setting end or receiving end, allows for better reflection & therefore, healthier processing & reactions.
One does not have to offer instant gratification. Time & space is warranted, deserved & vital.
Reflecting on the setting, applying and upholding boundaries
Reflection of oneself in isolation, within situations, under certain circumstances, with different connections & interactions – social, professional & family, may look very different for every individual & may take much support to sit with depending on the effect of the traumas associated with those aspects on oneself.
Regardless of the size of the trauma, the actual effect on a person is the focal point & place of importance. We perceive situations uniquely and therefore our perception of experiences will determine the level of trauma we adopt from them.
Be honest with yourself about your thoughts, traits, feelings & emotional processes.
Be aware of your behaviours, values & reactive states so that you can lessen the impact of the unhealthier ones on yourself & those you interact with.
Articulate your needs, wants & embodiment of behaviours against your core values to determine whether you are staying true to yourself when it comes to what you hold important.
(Sometimes, we are stuck in unhealthy/toxic environments to be able to fulfil our basic needs, especially if we come from previously & currently disadvantaged circumstances. Hold a hand out for help & those who can help bring growth education into these spaces so this cycle can break.)
Be gentle with yourself and give yourself grace & forgiveness. Also, allow yourself safety & love in the spaces where people offer it willingly.
Keep track. Don’t let it all just dissipate. Keep track of your reflections & growth. Make progress & take small steps.
Freeing oneself from the string hooked in our hearts by traumas, pains & hurts results in the most challenging reckoning we will face within ourselves.
Heal, they say…
- What does it mean to you to heal and therefore be healed?
- What will your healing self look like inside & out?
- How will a healed version of you be?
- What would be in store if you required no healing because you face no hurt?
- How do you envision your best, vulnerable, full-feeling self?
Healing is self-restoration.
It is your becoming as you most wholly wish to be in the space of complete safety & self-empowerment.
- Respected & be able to offer up that respect.
- Responsive & not reactive.
- To act out of love.
Love for yourself first.
The Setting, Applying and Upholding of Boundaries can leave one with challenging inner turmoil and reflection. Acting out of love for oneself leads to a ripple effect of love-filled connections & shared living space. Make sure to build such relationships.
Although, letting go does not mean forgetting. It means to take back the power. To unhook those strings which continue to cause bleeding in your heart. To keep the strings but take away their hooks which keep the wounds open & the pain in control of your reactions & part of your processing unconsciously.
It is to take the hurts out of the unknown control of the unconscious. You can reflect on them in the conscious when you release them. In the conscious mind, you take away their power and then store them in the subconscious, where they are validated. In the subconscious, reflection happens as needed and, if required, without showing up without permission.
You will begin to respond from a more self-informed space rather than react from a place of previous hurt and pain.
The Setting, Applying and Upholding of Boundaries certainly does not come with a lot of ease. There is much discomfort to sit with when the journey begins. Always be gentle with yourself and try to humanise all involved as much as you want to humanise yourself too. Consequently, Looking at situations from a self-awareness and healing point of view gives such clarity and peace.
Self-betterment and shadow work is the most rewarding work you could ever do for yourself and your life.
Look out for part one here, where I cover the following:
- Importance – whose needs matter.
- Support – speak to those who value you.
- Respect – be firm and kind (not nice).
- Expectations – keep them realistic.
- Solutions – be willing to walk away. (This does not mean forever sometimes)
(Not sure how to sit with discomfort, book a session with me, and I can help you guide yourself using tools you can use on your own afterwards.)
Look out for the Body Boundaries comprehensive booklet of information and templates on boundaries for you and your child here in the shop. Furthermore, you can also find a daily worksheet to help you determine where, when and how you need to uphold, set and apply boundaries in your life daily.
Lots of love,
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