WEAK VS. STRONG BOUNDARIES
WHERE DO YOU FALL?
BOUNDARIES are everything that you allow around you in your life. This includes allowing how people treat you; who you allow into your life; what you choose to let influence you; and what consumes your time, thoughts, money, and energy. When you have good boundaries you permit only what is acceptable and nourishing to you. Good boundaries help you to take full responsibility and ownership for your life which can bring tremendous growth and freedom.
What Weak Boundaries Look Like:
It is difficult or impossible to say, “No” when others request something from you.
You say yes to every project people give to you.
You always have to deal with urgent issues.
A lot of energy is wasted just to keep your life going.
People infringe on your time, space, or finances.
Others talk to you in a way that is offensive.
You attract needy and / or disrespectful people into your life.
You fear people will reject you if you don’t give into their demands.
Other people’s opinions of you become your identity.
You do not ask for help.
Other people’s problems consume your life and you tend to take responsibility for other people’s issues.
You can become angry or resentful because you feel taken advantage of, unheard, or disrespected.
You allow or accept people to be disrespectful to you and even abusive.
What Strong Boundaries Look Like:
You live out your VALUES fully and don’t compromise them for anyone.
You are clear about what your wants and needs are and you are able to communicate them to others.
You honour your own opinions, time, and preferences.
You know that the people in your life will accept and respect when you say, “No”.
When other people say “No” to you, you accept it.
You only give of your time, finances, space, and emotions what you would freely like to give.
You do not put up with “obligations”, false guilt, or manipulation.
You have plenty of energy and don’t allow energy drainers in your life.
You take responsibility for what is fully yours and you don’t take responsibility for other’s actions, words, or feelings.
There is a great freedom in all of your relationships – no one is controlling, manipulating, or using you.
Your relationships are balanced and not one-sided with one person making all the effort.
You feel respected, honoured, and heard in all of your relationships.
You know exactly how you want to be treated and others around you know that too.
HOW TO STRENGTHEN YOUR BOUNDARIES:
1. KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Notice where your boundaries are weak. What area(s) of your life do you need boundary work in? Relationship boundaries? Time boundaries? Emotional boundaries? Physical boundaries? Material or financial boundaries?
2. COMMUNICATE YOUR BOUNDARIES TO OTHERS
Boundaries won’t work if other people do not know what they are. Not informing someone that they have crossed a line only leads to resentment on your end and confusion on theirs. The only way to set better boundaries is by telling someone when and how they've crossed yours. Tell them what they are doing specifically, and how it makes you feel. Request that they stop and tell them about the change you need to see to have your relationship work.
A boundary without consequences is no boundary at all. You must decide if you are willing to enforce a boundary before you communicate it. When you tell someone that if they cross this boundary in the future there will be a consequence, it allows both of you to have freedom and a choice. An example would be, “If you are late next time, I will be leaving on time and will have to go to the event without you.” They have a choice to make sure they are on time, and you have a choice not miss your event – with or without them.
4. SAY GOODBYE TO PEOPLE WHO CONTINUALLY VIOLATE YOUR BOUNDARIES
If you have someone in your life who is continually disregarding your boundaries, despite the consequences or how it makes you feel; it may be time to move on to better relationships. If a person is constantly disrespecting you, continually violating your values, your time, money, space, emotions, or whatever the case, they are probably not worthwhile people to have in your life.
Walk away without a fight. We can never change another person; we can only change ourselves. There are many amazing people around just like you – so go and find them! Make room for the people who respect and honour you and bring out your very best!