Good Boundaries Make Good Neighbors

Do you have good boundaries? Do you clearly know the limit or edge that defines you as separate from others? Your skin marks the limit of your physical self, however, there are other boundaries that extend well beyond your skin. You become aware of those when someone stands too close, don’t you? That’s when someone comes inside that invisible circle known as your comfort zone.

Boundaries can be somewhat flexible. It may be fine for your lover to stand much closer to you than most of your friends. A friend can stand closer than a stranger. When someone is angry or hostile towards you, you might want to keep quite a distance from him or her!

There are other kinds of boundaries–emotional, spiritual, sexual and relational. You know the limits of what feels safe and appropriate for you. Do you maintain good boundaries that keep you feeling safe? Emotional boundaries, for example, honor the set of feelings and reactions that are distinctly yours.

You respond to the world uniquely based on your perceptions, your history, your values, goals and concerns. You can find people who react to the world in similar ways to you, but no one will react precisely as you do in all ways. That is your uniqueness.

Your spiritual boundaries are set when you know the right spiritual path for yourself. If someone tries to tell you that their truth is a little more true than yours, you can draw the line. There is so much in the news about violence and sexual aggression. Sexual boundaries must be clear. You, and only you, choose with whom you interact sexually–and the extent of that interaction. All relationships that are healthy have boundaries that are respected. The roles you play in each relationship need to come with clear limits of what you consider to be appropriate and healthy interaction.

Boundaries bring your life into order. Holding your boundaries exercises your right to define yourself and your relationships to
others. You teach people how to treat you and you are 100% responsible for doing so. Are you taking good care of yourself?

Can you clearly tell another person where your boundaries are and what the consequences of crossing them are in ways that move the relationships forward? Sometimes that movement forward will strengthen your bond, sometimes it will end it. Clarity is up to you. You teach people how to treat you!

© Rhoberta Shaler, PhD All rights reserved.
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