Boundaries (The Second Foundation Stone of the Self-Esteem Triad)
Boundaries are knowing where we end and someone else begins. It’s knowing what matters to us, what our values are and what it is we want to attend to and care about and what it is that we are not prepared to attend to and care about. It’s knowing who you are: “this is my identity” which can then be respected.
In their book, Boundaries, Townsend says that the most basic boundary in a person’s life is the ability to say no because saying no, lets the other person know that you are separate to them and that you have your own opinions and thought patterns.
I remember as a child, I was not allowed to go to the fridge without asking permission. One afternoon, after running a cross-country race, I came home exhausted and dry, so I immediately went to the fridge to get a drink. I was yelled at because I had gone there without permission and was told to sit on the couch until I learnt my manners of asking first. I never got my drink. I remember the tears stinging, I was so tired, I just wanted a drink. But the rule became more important in my mother’s world, than a boundary of what was right or wrong in the instant, in the context of what I had done that day and how hungry and thirsty I was. My boundaries and personal needs were totally violated.
In case you are wondering about the difference between boundaries and rules, boundaries are what we control about ourselves, our personal space, our emotional space and our physical space. Rules are what we use to power over people and control them. That is not what we are talking about in this article. We are talking about the boundaries we need in life to keep us safe in all areas of our life.
This understanding is crucial in goal achievement. If you allow everyone else’s need to be the priority in your life, your goals can never be achieved because you will always be doing what ‘someone else wants’ or if your boundaries are not in place to know what you want and when you want it, you’ll be a doormat, everyone walking over you, because you consider yourself so little that your boundaries don’t matter.
My heart goes out to you, if you are like this. Boundaries matter because you matter. Your dreams and desires matter. You are worth your boundaries because it is in boundaries that you know your true self, what you want and how you want to achieve it.