In Purejoy, the definition of boundaries is “what is okay with me and what is not okay with me about how I treat myself.” Take a moment to consider this. It is not about how others treat you; they are going to do what they do, say what they say, and feel what they feel. A boundary is how you perceive what you hear as being personal to you, and when you do, how do you treat yourself?
For example, let’s say your child tells you how mean you are and that they hate you. If you take this personally and believe it to be true, you will likely try to bind your child and tell them that it is not okay to treat you that way. Sound familiar? This would be binding or limiting their expression.
However, if you are open to hearing this as an expression of their discomfort and you treat yourself with kindness, then you have the option to take it personally or not.
Personal boundaries are essential for healthy relationships, and they are particularly important when it comes to setting limits on how you treat yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the opinions and actions of others, but by focusing on what is and isn’t okay with how you treat yourself, you are able to create a foundation for healthy relationships.
By recognizing that your boundaries are not about how others treat you, they are about how you treat yourself, you are able to take responsibility for your own well-being. If someone is yelling and you are uncomfortable, as an adult you can choose to leave the room. Remember, the reason this is hard is because as a child you couldn’t just walk out and get new parents. You HAD to stay there and “take” it or be punished for standing up for yourself. When you perceived something as a child, of course, if felt personal and therefore as an adult it’s important to grow your capacity to take adult steps to take care of yourself.
When you set healthy boundaries, you open up to new possibilities. You are able to listen to feedback without becoming defensive, and you’re able to express your emotions without feeling guilty or ashamed. By treating yourself with kindness and compassion, you create a safe space for growth and maturing.
So take some time to consider your own boundaries. What is okay with you, and what is not okay with you about how you treat yourself? Remember that you have the power to choose how you respond, and that by treating yourself with kindness and respect, you are able to create a foundation for healthy relationships.