"Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions."
~ Jetsun Pema
Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules, or limits that YOU create to identify reasonable, safe, and permissible ways for other people to behave towards YOU and how YOU will respond when someone crosses those limits.
Your boundaries also tell other people how they can treat you – what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Without boundaries, people may treat you contrary to how you expect to be treated because you haven’t set limits about it.
Everyone's limit will be different. What is a boundary violation for one person may be completely acceptable to another.
Healthy boundaries are bidirectional; they involve communicating your wants and needs, while also respecting the wants and needs of the other person in the relationship.
Unhealthy boundaries involve a disregard for your own and others’ values, wants, needs, and limits. They can also lead to potentially abusive relationships or increase the chances of other types of abusive relationships as well.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOUNDARIES AND WALLS
Healthy Boundaries in a dating context -
Flexible dating: telling yourself to take some time until you actively get back into the dating game. You are open to trusting and giving someone an opportunity again. You now know the behaviours you will not tolerate. You are still prioritising yourself and not cutting yourself off completely.
Telling yourself that you can’t trust anyone and that it’s better to not become attached to anyone again.
You stop dating completely until you find the perfect partner who ticks your long list of requirements.
You don’t want to make another mistake again so you decide not to date at all.
Name your limits. You can't set good boundaries if you're unsure of where you stand
Tune into your feelings. Anger/Resentment
Be direct, don’t make excuses, and explain or qualify your actions or decision
Give yourself permission. Don’t harbour feelings of guilt for your action
Practice self-awareness. Feel into what’s going on for you
Consider your past and present. When has this happened in the past and what happened when you... didn’t set a boundary?
Make self-care a priority. Allowing people to take advantage of you is not self-care
Once you state the boundary stick to it
Stay with the uncomfortable feelings
Stay with the feeling that the other person might retaliate
Follow through the next time someone violates your boundaries
After burn or a vulnerability hangover is a gut-wrenching feeling that happens the moment you decide to get real about who you are, what you want, and how you want to be treated.
You start feeling it: something gnawing deep inside the pit of your stomach, followed up by immediate regret, topped with an overwhelming sense of panic. God, what did I just do?
The horrible feeling in the pit of our stomachs is the reason why most of us fear setting boundaries
In her book, The Language of Letting Go, Melody Beattie describes after burn perfectly.
“How could I do it? How could I say it? Even though I meant it, I still feel ashamed, guilty, and afraid.”
This is a common reaction to new, exciting recovery behaviours.
Anything to do with owning our power and taking care of ourselves can trigger feelings of shame, guilt, and fear.
We do not have to allow these feelings to control us. They’re a backlash. They’re after-burn. Let them burn out.
When we start confronting and attacking feelings and messages, we will experience some after-burn. The after-burn is what we allowed to control us all our life—shame and guilt.
Many of us grew up with shame-based messages that it wasn’t okay to take care of ourselves, be honest, be direct, and own our power with people.
Many of us grew up with messages that it wasn’t okay to be who we were and resolve problems in relationships. Many of us grew up with the message that what we want and need isn’t okay.
Let it all burn off. We don’t have to take after-burn so seriously. We don’t let the after-burn convince us that we are wrong and don’t have a right to take care of ourselves and set boundaries.
Do we really have the right to take care of ourselves? Do we really have the right to set boundaries? Do we really have the right to be direct and say what we need to say?
You bet we do.
Use this affirmation
Today, I will let any after-burn which sets in after I practice a new recovery behavior, burn off. I will not take it so seriously. (God,) help me let go of my shame and needless fears about what will happen to me if I really start caring for and loving myself.
Learning to set healthy boundaries will impact all our relationships, including the one with our mother. Join me for a 90-minute live online workshop, Healing the Mother-Daughter Relationship on Mother's Day.
If you cannot join us, try my self-paced- version of this workshop. Details to join both are below.
Lots of hugs until next time.