In case you’ve been living under a rock like I was up until five years ago, let me give you the deets on what boundaries are. A boundary is basically an imaginary line that separates us from others. Boundaries are ways we protect ourselves, our time, energy, heart, resources, etc. And they help us keep a clear sense of self when its easy to get focused on others.
I say a boundary is an imaginary line because a boundary starts as an idea someone has about their rights. That gives way to identifying what you want in your life and what you don’t want. A boundary is a statement you use to make those desires clear. The key is maintaining them when the world is full of noise, pulling at you, wanting things from you. Your attention, your time, your help, your money. You get the idea.
Like I said, up until five years ago, I had no clue what boundaries were. I mean, I had heard the term in my college psychology class, but I didn’t truly get it. It was akin to having knowledge but not wisdom. I knew things, but I didn’t truly understand or believe in myself enough to apply them. Honestly, I was so far gone, I wasn’t even aware of the extent of the problem.
I remember one time I was out with some friends and we were trying to decide on dinner. It was a group of six of us and there were one person in the group that was known for being aggressive and dominant. If I recall, my ex said something that reminded us all of a conversation I had with him previously. The convo he and I had was after one of the worst fights (and I’m putting that mildly) we ever had. I tried to speak up for myself and tell him that if such and such happened again, I was done. Well, I’m sure exactly, but this particular friend thought what I said was funny or he wanted to provoke a situation and he tried to get my ex to call me the name that I set the boundary around.
I’ll spare you the details and the language today. It’s not relevant.
Because I was so broken down emotionally and my self esteem was at a rock bottom low, they wore me down. To them it was a game. I caved and just said, fine. I don’t care anymore. Because in my mind I was taught that when someone picks on you, if you make it a big deal they like the reaction. So I tried doing the opposite. I didn’t realize it at the time, but essentially what happened was my boundary was crossed. Since then, I’ve had oodles of opportunities to practice setting them, and I’ve learn the number one, sure fire sign someone has crossed my boundaries.
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My simple trick to discerning whether or not someone has crossed your boundaries has helped me countless times when getting to know people. And we meet new people everyday! The online world alone provides us with constant interactions with strangers. We may not be able to tell if someone we interact with is healthy for us, a source of love and light, or may not be for our highest good until its too late.
Maybe you aren’t even attempting to set boundaries with others, but there are times when you just want to share something and what’s happening is essentially the same thing. Why do others behave that way? Since I can get long-winded, I’ll save that for another article. 🙂
Whether you are new to standing up for yourself, you are learning about all this for the first time, or have a moderate handle on it, I’m sure this simple trick can help you.
You feel shame.
In your body, the feelings are similar to shrinking, cowering, feeling defeated. We want to hide, heads bowed, body’s hunched over, eyes lowered to the ground. You know the feeling. It’s like the wind got knocked out of you or a balloon lost all its air.
Shame stems from the feelings and beliefs that we aren’t enough, we aren’t worthy. It’s a natural response if we struggle to enforce boundaries, to take care of our wants and needs. It’s tied to our self-esteem and confidence. But the beautiful thing is, boundaries can be learned. It is 100% possible to regain your voice, your power, and rule your world. Start by listening to your body.
Are you ready to reinforce your Boundaries?
Get started now by downloading my FREE Resource Guide to Better Boundaries