#MeToo – I decide what I will and what I won’t accept. And that is how people will treat me.
Since the past couple of days, I have been waking up every morning to a new story that revolves around #MeToo and while there are different instances of how women have felt violated, there is one important thing that comes to my mind. And thats what I would like to talk today. Which is Boundaries. Boundaries are nothing but mental emotional and physical limits that we set for ourself that separates us from the other person. And these limits are extremely important because they tell us what we are okay with and what we are not okay with.
There are two things that can happen around boundaries. Either we have loose boundaries, usually such people find it difficult to say NO. They end up taking on too much. They are there always listening to people, empathetic, reaching out, being there and at the end of it, end up feeling exhausted. End up feeling taken for granted. End up feeling spent and tired simple because they have not been able to exercise the boundary when its needed.
There are the other group of people, who have what we call as, very rigid boundaries. And which means that there is a lot of difficult in trusting people, in being vulnerable, in opening up, in expressing emotions. What this does is, that while it keeps you safe, it locks people out and does not allow you to have meaningful connections with people around you.
So today I would like to ask you, what kind of boundaries do you have? Are you able to have the beautiful dance between connecting with people in an amazing, deep, joyful, meaningful way and yet not loose yourself in the whole process.
So how is it that you can exercise healthy boundaries. Let’s talk about three ways of doing it.
The number one way is to know exactly how you are feeling at any point in time. Knowing whether something is okay with you or something is not okay with you. And the way to know this is listening to your inner emotion and your inner guidance system.
The second step is being able to communicate this boundary in a very assertive yet respectful and compassionate way. Sometimes we either don’t assert the boundary or we say it in a very disrespectful way and that gets us a negative feedback.
And the third step is to not feel guilty to say NO. Knowing that it is absolutely okay, and infact it is extremely healthy for you to draw your mental, your emotional and physical boundaries and for other people in your life to learn to respect it.
So while #MeToo is a wonderful movement, lets make it a movement of exercising healthy, wholesome boundaries for each one of us, so that we have wonderful healthy relationships .
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Do you have trouble establishing Healthy Boundaries? Take the quiz to find out
Answer with “never,” “seldom,” “occasionally,” “often,” or “usually.”
- I feel as if my happiness depends on other people.
- I would rather attend to others than attend to myself.
- I spend my time and energy helping others so much that I neglect my own wants and needs.
- I tend to take on the moods of people close to me.
- I am overly sensitive to criticism.
- I tend to get “caught up” in other people’s problems.
- I feel responsible for other people’s feelings.
- I don’t ask for what I need.
- I feel guilty when someone asks me to do something and I say no.
If you answered “often” or “usually” to the above statements, this might be an indication that you have trouble establishing healthy emotional boundaries. You are probably extremely affected by the emotions and energy of the people and spaces around you. At times, it can be very hard to distinguish between your “stuff” and other people’s “stuff.”
In the absence of healthy emotional boundaries, you can become so overwhelmed and overstimulated by what’s going around you that sometimes it can become hard to function normally. It can be emotionally and physically draining.
It is not possible to enjoy healthy relationships without the existence of personal boundaries, or without our willingness to communicate them directly and honestly with others. It’s important that you begin now.
Five powerful strategies for you to set healthy boundaries
When you identify the need to set a boundary, do it clearly, calmly, firmly, respectfully, and in as few words as possible. Do not justify, get angry, or apologize for the boundary you are setting. Know that you have the right to set your boundary and say ‘No’ when needed.
Don’t assume responsibility for the other person’s reaction to the boundary you are setting. If it upsets them, know it is their problem. Some people, especially those accustomed to controlling, abusing, or manipulating you, might corner you. Plan on it, expect it, but remain firm. Remember, your behavior must match the boundaries you are setting. You cannot successfully establish a clear boundary if you send mixed messages by apologizing.
Learning to set healthy boundaries takes time. It is a process. Set them in your own time frame, not when someone else tells you.
At first, you will probably feel selfish, guilty, or embarrassed when you set a boundary. Do it anyway and remind yourself you have a right to self-care. Setting boundaries takes practice and determination. Don’t let anxiety, fear or guilt prevent you from taking care of yourself.
Develop a support system of people who respect your right to set boundaries. Eliminate toxic persons from your life— those who want to manipulate, abuse, and control you.
Practice affirmations/visualization on daily basis to develop your inner will and clarity to set healthy boundaries. Know that you deserve it!