Boundaries are such an important piece of healing. Setting up and enforcing good boundaries will allow you the space to sit with your own emotions and feelings in a protective bubble. This is what is needed for healing to occur. In setting boundaries, you get to determine what you want to let in and what you don’t – what feels right to you and what doesn’t. It is a way of valuing yourself. When you feel valuable, you rise to a level of wholeness and expectation that demands respectful and kind behavior from others. When that behavior is not what you encounter, you can firmly set a boundary and walk away. That is your right as a human being.
Many times anxiety and depression can be traced back to a violation of boundaries – often trauma related. Most people do not understand that they have a right to exert boundaries, even with their family members. In fact, family members can be the biggest offenders when it comes to boundaries – feeling an entitlement or special privilege and right to do whatever they want. Yet family members should be our greatest allies – protecting and standing up for us. Unfortunately, that is not usually the case. Dysfunction is passed down from generation to generation – patterns are deeply engrained. It takes a very strong and aware individual to break those patterns. It is no wonder that the people I see in therapy have no idea what a boundary is and/or how to firmly enforce it.
Anyone that does not respect a boundary you have clearly placed, does not respect you as an individual. If someone becomes angry with you for placing a boundary, they are not someone you want to be around. The people you want to be around are those that would never think of violating a boundary in the first place. They are genuinely respectful – innately possessing things like integrity, ethics, honesty, loyalty – virtues that show a person’s character and come from within. They lift you up – not tear you down.
We can be born into a family where these virtues do not exist, yet it is our responsibility to do better. It is never an excuse – we always have choice. That is our gift – we can always choose differently. We do not have to be what we came from – we can change the patterns. However, it takes great awareness and courage and the inner drive to be different – to do the right thing.
It can be a challenge to enact boundaries – especially when you are sensitive and empathic. In fact, the therapy clients I work with are most often predisposed to sensitivity. It is the way they are wired. My job is to help them manage that sensitivity and protect themselves from others that want to use them and manipulate them. The manipulators of the world are looking for those with a sensitive nature because they want to feed off of their kindness. They can suck you in and drag you all over the place with their drama. It is imperative to become aware – learning to identify when your boundaries have been violated.
When our boundaries have been walked all over, we can feel like we have been bull-dozed – our sense of self obliterated. The work is to develop a strong inner core that cannot be rattled. To believe so strongly in your own personal value that you will not tolerate disrespectful, dishonoring and rude behavior. To know deep within you that you have a right to demand appropriate behavior from others and if you do not receive it, you can remove yourself from the situation. You are not responsible for fixing another person’s drama or for making them feel better about themselves – that is their own responsibility.
When we have boundaries, we are affirming our value. And when we do that – other things start falling into place – the right people show up – the right opportunities come together because we are in alignment. We are congruent. That is the goal of therapy – to lead us towards alignment so we can successfully navigate the challenges life presents. Challenges will aways be there -that is the journey; however, we can learn to have tools in our toolbox that help us move through the challenges and keep us safe at the same time.