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Welcome back! I hope you are doing well and staying healthy. Today I will be finishing up my discussion on how to establish healthy personal boundaries. I do hope that part one was beneficial to you and that this second part is equally so.
As you may recall from part one, I discussed how to say no and set boundaries with others. An extension of that lesson is learning how to identify the specific actions and behaviors that you find unacceptable. It can be difficult at first, but don’t be afraid to let others know when they’ve crossed the line, acted inappropriately, or disrespected you in some way. It is okay to tell others when you need emotional and physical space. Allow yourself to be who you really are without pressure from others to be anything else.
Every situation is different, but some actions that you can take when communicating to others is acting confident. Notice I didn’t say be confident. In fact, the first few times you express where your boundaries are may be a little scary. Especially if you’ve never done so before. Some ways to act confident are to speak clearly to the person, not down at the floor in a whisper. Look the other person in the eye, hold your head up, and stand straight. Much of how we humans communicate is non-verbal via our body language. And presenting yourself in a strong, confident manner helps reinforce to others that you mean what you say. With practice, you will eventually feel confident, as well. And if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. If the other person responds negatively, or dismisses you, be a broken record. Continue to assert yourself until the other person hears you.
Remember, you are the highest authority on you. You know yourself best. You know what you need, want, and value. Don’t let anyone else make the decisions for you. Healthy boundaries make it possible for you to respect your strengths, abilities and individuality as well as those of others. An unhealthy imbalance occurs when you encourage neediness, or are constantly needy; want to be rescued, are the rescuer, or when you choose to play the victim.
When you have unhealthy personal boundaries, you may find yourself going against your own personal values in order to please someone else. You may find yourself giving more than is necessary, or even taking abuse. Perhaps you have the tendency toward letting others define you instead of doing the work of developing on your own. If you feel guilty or bad when you say no or for not speaking up when others treat you poorly your boundaries are likely unhealthy. Even more dangerous is falling “in love” with someone you barely know or accepting advances you really don’t want from someone you really don’t know or like.
The flip side of this is establishing healthy boundaries for your safety and sanity. When you practice and reinforce for others where your boundaries lie, you will find your self-confidence improving. You will be more in touch with the reality of the quality of your current relationships. You will be better able to communicate with others, and as such, have more fulfilling relationships. Lastly, you will find your life has become more stable and the choices you make wiser.
Stay healthy, my friends!