Last week I taught a session on boundary awareness to a group of unsuspecting students. Sitting in pairs, Partner A was asked to define their physical boundary, making it clear to the partner without words where the invisible line was drawn. Then, Partner B was instructed to cross the boundary. Partner A was allowed to respond by removing, then replacing the hand where they felt more comfortable. At the conclusion, we came back together to discuss the experience and clear the unsettled air. The purpose of this exercise was to remind them we’re responsible for setting boundaries in our lives, and gain understanding of how we, and others feel when our boundaries are crossed.
Do you have set boundaries in your life? How are you communicating your boundaries to the world? Are you allowing others to cross these boundaries without your consent? The purpose of having boundaries is to take care of and protect ourselves. It’s important to let people know when they’re not treating us the way we desire. For some, this can be challenging depending on how we were brought up, our life experiences, etc.
The first step is to get clear on how you want people to treat you. Once you have some clarity, then you must start communicating this to the world. A healthy way of communicating is not to accuse or blame others, but to simply state “When you do/say xxxx, it makes me uncomfortable. Please don’t do xxxx again.” or “I feel uncomfortable when xxxx happens, I’d prefer you do yyy instead.” Try resetting your boundaries on some of the simpler, less emotionally charged areas of your life first, to build the muscle. As you gain confidence, you’ll find the strength to tackle the more challenging areas. Good Luck!
Keep on Dreaming!