We all use the word boundaries a lot, without really thinking of its implications and what it truly means. Brené Brown says that boundaries are simply “What is ok for you and what isn’t”. This appeals to me because it helps me analyse what boundaries I need in my life and which I need to really express.
Because, as we all know, it’s when we need to express what isn’t ok for us to others, that is often becomes a real challenge!
In therapy we often work with this issue, to help clients find out what they need to make things ok for them and express what they need. I often practice on the small things, I ask myself how this is making me feel? Often I feel a bit of anxiety or nervous in my stomach and this tells me that something may be testing my boundaries! So then I ask myself what do I need to make it ok, it often comes up that I need to let someone else know what boundaries I have.
An example is, I have a dear friend who is consistently late for our meetings, they are informal and supposed to be fun so I felt awkward saying anything. I try not to be late and for me it is a boundary I put in place, as I feel it is disrespectful to others to waste their time. This is my boundary and I know others may not agree, but it feels an important value to me. So I spoke up kindly and with compassion saying this is what I felt.
It wasn’t a boundary she shared, but she understood and we agreed to try hard to be on time. It took courage to do this, putting in place boundaries can be scary but to be truly ourselves we need to show others, with love and compassion, what is ok for us and what isn’t.