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Understanding & Defining Boundaries

Written by: Pam Hamidi, Self Acceptance Coach

Have you ever found yourself giving yourself rules? For example, "I'm going to work out five days a week, so I don't get fat." Or "I'm never going to drink because I lose control when I do."

Did you know that you are very likely doing it out of a place of fear when you do this? When we make rules for ourselves, we're doing it because we don't trust ourselves to behave otherwise.

Here is where creating healthy boundaries comes in. These are boundaries created from a place of love and the highest, best, and most authentic versions of ourselves in mind. Boundaries move us into what feels best for us, keeping the highest version of ourselves in mind.

Defining Boundaries

Boundaries are rules and principles you live by that indicate what you will and will not hold yourself responsible for. They allow you to stand for yourself and create structures that will enable you to flow and feel good in your body and be treated the way you want and deserve to be treated.

Types of Boundaries

  • Porous: I allow too much. I connect to you, but I don't feel safe and protected.

  • Rigid (Wall): I keep you away. I am protected because I have a wall up but don't feel connected to you.

  • Healthy: I am connected and protected. Our agreements curate our behaviours, and I feel protected by myself and you.

Boundaries can apply in many different areas of your life:

  • Emotional boundaries: Do you separate your own emotions and responsibility from someone else's? Do you blame or accept blame? Do you feel guilty because of someone else's negative feelings or problems? Do you take others' comments personally?

  • Material boundaries: Will you give or lend things (i.e., money, car, clothes)?

  • Mental boundaries: What do you think and value? What do you have an opinion about? Are you easily suggestible? Do you know what you believe? Can you listen with an open mind to someone else's opinion without becoming highly emotional, argumentative, or defensive?

  • Physical boundaries: What rules do you have around your personal space, privacy, and body? For example, who would you hug and when? How do you feel about loud music? Nudity? Locked doors?

  • Sexual boundaries: What is your comfort level with sexual touch and activity (what, where, when, and with whom)?

  • Spiritual boundaries: What are your beliefs and experiences connected to God or a higher power?

Why Having Boundaries Is Important

When you don't have boundaries and aren't used to having them, you may find yourself feeling:

  • Anxious

  • Rejected

  • Abandoned

  • Alone

  • Out of control

  • Easily triggered, especially by circumstances that remind you of earlier negative boundaries

These feelings are normal – we have anxiety about things we don't have boundaries around. Being in this uncomfortable space can often lead to seeking out dopamine-heavy activities that give you a "high" and an escape from the feelings you are having, for example, drugs, alcohol, sex, dating apps, or screen time.

When you give in to someone who doesn't respect your boundary and then engage again with them without giving a consequence, you teach them your boundary is just a suggestion. The person raises the game, and your self-worth takes a hit. You are, in essence, saying that your worth is less than the value of your boundary.

For more information on boundaries or assistance in setting your own, please get in touch with Pam Hamidi, Self-Acceptance Coach, at 604-776-2432 or book online. Pam is here to help you accept and love every part of your true selves. She will hold space for you and, together, you will use various strategies and techniques to explore the "why" to implement the "how." Having the support of a life coach, you will receive the necessary guidance to achieve the self-love and acceptance you deserve.

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