What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is yours – and the art of knowing the difference
‘The tug of war of boundaries’- Part 1
In a world where it’s admirable to be a good person and always one to lend a helping hand, one can become confused, guilty, shameful or fearful about having personal boundaries. Author Christine Northrup describes this perfectly when she states “we are raised to be so intent on pleasing everyone else that we are no longer know where we end and another person begins. We often feel so empathetic that we can’t tell whether we are feeling our own feelings or those of someone else. And the feelings and needs of others too often take precedence over our own.”
Over a series of blog posts, I will be going deeper into this topic by looking into the areas of people-pleasing, self-worth, and empowerment allowing you to drop the masks and choosing how you want your life to work on your terms. Let’s start by looking at the foundations: what are boundaries?
‘A boundary is, in essence, where you end and another person begins’ Nancy Levi
The five types of boundaries:
- Physical Boundaries: pertain to your body, your personal space, your time and your privacy
- Emotional Boundaries: pertain to your emotional needs and the needs of others
- Energetic Boundaries: pertain to the state of your vitality. Picking up energies around you, being overwhelmed by relationship drama, feeling drained during interaction with others
- Mental boundaries: pertain to your thoughts, values and opinions
- Material boundaries: pertain to money and property belonging to you
(Nancy Levin, author of ‘Setting Boundaries will set you free)
Often, we have suppressed our own needs for so long we are totally unaware when our boundaries are being crossed. When we take back control and set a boundary this is setting a foundation of looking after our needs, taking back OUR POWER. Jennifer Hoffman Author classifies ‘boundaries’ into the following three categories.
- No boundaries – where there is no awareness of where your energy starts and another’s begins
- Flexible boundaries – where your boundaries change between different people and circumstances
- Strong boundaries often so strong that there is no flexibility and you rarely budge
Out of the three which one do you believe you are? Or do they swap and change depending on your circumstances and people in your life?
Why do we have weak or no boundaries?
- Family conditioning: early learned behaviour to always be the good girl or boy
- Low self-value & worth: putting your own needs aside so everyone’s are met
- People-pleasing – having a deep-seated fear of not being accepted or liked or not wanting others to be angry or sad at us
- Fear: of conflict, confrontation, abandonment or ‘if I speak up there will be a price to pay’
- Mindset: stuck in circumstances due to a victim mindset
- Beliefs: The inability to say NO and believing we can’t say NO
- Disconnection: an inability to distinguish our own needs from the needs of others
If having awareness is the first step to change, what could you start changing today?