Good personal boundaries are elementary...right? Involved in all relationships...right? Yes, I think so! And it is a little shocking to know that so many of us routinely violate what seems like a fundamental cornerstone to all healthy relationships....The issue is pervasive and affects people in all marital and ending-marital relationships, as well as being a part of the interactions between parents and children and employees and co-workers and friends, and even in exchanges with strangers, etc., etc.
Setting and maintaining good personal boundaries becomes absolutely imperative when people are divorcing. If you aren't yet convinced, here's some really great, basic, things that can be achieved when we set personal boundaries:
- We can act, instead of reacting, we can direct ourselves and stop feeling like we are victims
- As we utilize the boundaries that we have decided on, we can change the entire dynamic of relationships -- treat yourself with more respect and others around you will treat you with more respect -- voila, it's like magic!
- We empower ourselves by building our self-respect which creates a domino effect to pave the way for other positive things that we can achieve
I recently read a brief article on "Upworthy" about planning for the future. It hit me that several of the suggestions are directly applicable to setting good personal boundaries. With my (slight) modifications to the boundary setting context, the "Upworthy" tips include:
· Take responsibility for all of your choices -- although many factors are beyond your control, own the choices you make and let that guide you
· Remain flexible -- if you have set a boundary and it is routinely being broken, it might be time to re-examine and re-frame the boundary
· Remember that not everything will turn out exactly how you planned but moving forward with intention, keeping your ideals in mind, will help you reach your ultimate goal
It might not feel "natural" to set and enforce good personal boundaries, in which case, try to think of it as a job, a task to be accomplished. Consider making a checklist to get started and then stick with it! It might help to:
- envision having a "personal bubble" around you and then work to keep this area free and clear
- think about personal interactions that don't feel good (i.e., someone saying negative things about you, someone getting too physically close, etc.)...
- and then think about ways you can keep the negative behavior out of your "bubble" -- for example, if someone is being verbally abusive, keep your focus on being calm and making one simple declaration "If you continue to use those words (that tone, etc.) with me, I am going to walk away/hang up" -- and then you need to follow through....
And as with everything, be persistent. Don't give up even in the face of some setbacks. Believe in yourself and your ability to create and maintain good personal boundaries. You are the keeper of your boundary lines. Don't expect that someone else will enforce your boundaries. It is up to you to set the stage and once you do, you will find the power.
"The most common way people give up their power is
by thinking they don’t have any...." Alice Walker
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