- Material boundaries determine whether you give or lend things, such as your money, car, clothes, books, food, or toothbrush.
- Physical boundaries pertain to your personal space, privacy, and body. Do you give a handshake or a hug – to whom and when? How do you feel about loud music, nudity, and locked doors?
- Mental boundaries apply to your thoughts, values, and opinions. Are you easily suggestible? Do you know what you believe, and can you hold onto your opinions? Can you listen with an open mind to someone else’s opinion without becoming rigid? If you become highly emotional, argumentative, or defensive, you may have weak emotional boundaries.
- Emotional boundaries distinguish separating your emotions and responsibility for them from someone else’s. It’s like an imaginary line or force field that separates you and others. Healthy boundaries prevent you from giving advice, blaming or accepting blame. They protect you from feeling guilty for someone else’s negative feelings or problems and taking others’ comments personally. High reactivity suggests weak emotional boundaries. Healthy emotional boundaries require clear internal boundaries – knowing your feelings and your responsibilities to yourself and others.
- Sexual boundaries protect your comfort level with sexual touch and activity – what, where, when, and with whom.
- Spiritual boundaries relate to your beliefs and experiences in connection with God or a higher power.
Many years ago, I went through a time in my life where I felt I had “lost myself”. I did lots of things for other people which I “thought” would give my life meaning – but in the process I forgot who I really was! At this time I came across a course called “Creating Safe Boundaries”. We used hoola hoops to experience what our boundaries were and I discovered that in some areas of my life my boundaries weren’t very healthy.
I wanted to practice saying "no" to people – something I was not used to doing. So I began with the man who I knew would love me no matter what, my father. He would ring me and ask me out for lunch and I would say “let me check my diary”, instead of immediately saying “yes”. This gave me time to think about what I really wanted. Sometimes it was “yes, I’d love to go”, sometimes it was "no, I am sorry I am busy" and sometimes it was “I cannot go this time but how about….”
I remember also having a lot of friends at that time – some of those "friendships" were one sided – I was the one always contacting them or running around after them, and they did not reciprocate. So I spent some time considering each one and deciding who would be moved into my acquaintance box and who would I would continue being friends with. I stopped ringing my acquaintances (and they didn’t ring me), so even though we still have nice memories together I don’t hang out with them any more.
Setting boundaries is a life skill that has been popularized by self help authors and support groups since the mid 1980's. It is the practice of openly communicating and asserting personal values as way to preserve and protect against having them compromised or violated. Wikipedia definition
1. Very unhappy people who blamed others for their misfortunes
2. Had a negative disposition
3. They did all the talking
4. Or we just weren’t on the same page anymore.
Gradually I let them go. This gave me more time to be with people whom I felt good with.
Boundaries enhance your life and when we are strong we can enhance the lives of others.
Some of this blog is copied from http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-are-personal-boundaries-how-do-i-get-some/