Boundaries mean anything that marks a border. It could be a real or imagined line that limits any subject, principle or relationship. It can also be viewed as guidelines or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and evaluate their response when someone crosses those limits. Boundaries are essential for a healthy living and peace of mind. Setting and sustaining boundaries is indeed a life skill states a well known best CBSE School.
Why boundaries are important?
Boundaries draw a clear line around what is acceptable to us and what is not. When someone behaves in a manner that makes us uncomfortable- He/She has crossed the line. We need to take care of ourselves by letting the other person know and making that line much clearer.
Without clear boundaries, we may feel resentful. It can affect our sense of self-esteem, self-worth and overall personal and interpersonal comfort level. Clearly defined boundaries help us to remain connected and communicating the same shows our respect towards the relationship.
It is pivotal to note that just like setting personal boundaries, setting professional boundaries is equally important. At one hand these boundaries serve to preserve our physical and emotional energy, help us stay focused and identify our personal limits. On the other hand, it helps us to maintain good productivity and social dynamics in the work place. When professional boundaries and priorities are clearly defined, productivity increases at work place.
Healthy & unhealthy boundaries
Boundaries can be categorized as Emotional, Physical, Tangible and Intangible. It is crucial to identify and differentiate between healthy and unhealthy boundaries.
Healthy boundaries allow us achieve self-esteem and respect. It is about being confident and truthful in saying ‘No’ to uncomfortable behaviour and at the same time being respectful and understanding to others saying ‘No’ to our behaviour which has caused discomfort to them. Not saying “No” or not accepting when others say “No” is a sign of unhealthy boundary.
One of the significant characteristic of healthy boundary is ‘engaging in appropriate sharing’ specially, in our professional domain. Mixing our personal and professional realm is usually seen as a breach of a healthy boundary. Therefore, maintaining healthy boundaries means communicating our physical and physiological limits to others. A well known best CBSE school has the responsibility to teach the children to know their boundaries wherever they go.
Learn to communicate your boundaries
Before we communicate our boundaries, the first and foremost thing to do is to set our boundaries. We need to assess ourselves and identify our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual limits. Our personal boundaries will stem from our values and our life’s priorities. Once we are aware of our own limits then the next step would be to communicate it to the people. There are many ways through which we can communicate our boundaries, though it varies from person to person.
We must have heard somewhere “communication is the key”, in this case too, communication is the key, and thus communication is the most common way to express our boundaries. Following are some points which should be taken into consideration while communicating our boundaries:
- Focus on concrete rather than personal explanations
- Make eye contact while communicating
- Be honest but respectful when sharing your thoughts and feelings
- Be firm while highlighting boundaries rather than being rude
- Try to understand the situation and respond accordingly
Boundaries must be adjusted
Fences allow us to protect what’s valuable to us. They allow us to control who and what enters our space. Similarly, boundaries allow us to protect our emotional well-being. But setting these imaginary limits are not enough as we also have to adjust these boundaries from time to time so that it doesn’t lose its efficacy.
One of the purposes of setting boundaries is to control our emotions. However, loose or rigid boundaries can lead to emotional drain and that is why we need to adjust our boundaries whenever necessary. For example people with loose boundaries are often subjected to unwanted comments and criticisms from others which can lead to emotional distress and hypersensitivity. At the same time rigid boundaries can lead to chronic feelings of loneliness
Make boundaries not rules
It is important to note that the motive here is to make boundaries, not rules. Rules are rigid whereas boundaries are flexible. In order to maintain balance we need to have flexible approach. To avoid turning our boundaries into rules we need to practice openness that is to be willing to listen to others about how our behaviour impacts them. Also having boundaries doesn’t mean rigidly saying no to everything. Nor does it mean cocooning ourselves to others.
Are rules bad?
When used appropriately, rules provide a sense of protection and consistency for children, thereby promoting physical and emotional safety. While it’s easier for adults to access themselves and create boundaries, certain rules must be set for children and teenagers to help maintain their emotional and physical form and well-being. These rules will later form the foundation of self-assessment and help form the boundaries upon becoming adults. Hence a well known best CBSE school, TCIS believe in “People will continue to do what you allow. You get to decide what is and what is not allowed in your life.” For Example A Child should be able to clearly identify between ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ and say ‘No’ as per the rule taught to him/her, the child safety rule. This rule will later help the child become aware and set clear defined boundaries.
Author: Ms. Neha Singh