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Personal boundaries - what are they are why are they important

Within our workplace we have many policies set in place to guide and advise us to achieve best possible outcomes and objectives, boundaries being one of them. What we can often do within our personal life is to neglect these boundaries and become "people pleasing" people, causing anxiety to ourselves and lowering our self-esteem and self-worth.

Some feelings such as guilt, anger and resentment might mean we are waiving our personal boundaries for someone else, or the ones we think we have, have become blurred along the way, leaving us feeling worn out and pre-occupied to the detriment of our own lives and things and people that are important to us.

Setting personal boundaries does not mean we become selfish, it means we become assertive, confident, have self-awareness and encourage our own mental well-being. Strong personal boundaries protect us from being manipulated and taken advantage of.

There are human rights and your own personal rights – you have the right to say no and receive respect without feeling guilty. The same as you would respect your employer’s policies or your friends and families boundaries, you have the right for others to respect yours.

Start to check out your feelings, behaviour and physical symptoms when you are around someone that is crossing your personal boundaries (even if you are sure you have some!). If you are feeling all-consumed by that person or situation then your boundaries have probably gone AWOL.

Write a list of your preferences of how you would like to be treated by others. What is OK and what is not OK. What are you feeling?  Why? What would you like to do – why are you feeling guilt or stress maybe? Check this out with your own values and principles.

Setting personal boundaries mean you accept responsibility for yourself and how others treat you. Your boundaries define you as a person and help you understand what is or isn’t acceptable in your life. Without them you end up going against your own values, feeling bad or guilty at saying no, giving more than you can and let others give you an identity that's not your own.

 “We change our behaviour when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.” 

~ Henry Cloud - Clinical Psychologist

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Written by Tracy Foster, Dip.Couns, Dip.CBT Registered (MBACP)

UPDATE:  if you are looking for counselling for problems and issues, and have concerns regarding Coronavirus, I am experienced in holding Skype online video link counselling.  This means you can remain in your home if you are self-isolating or worried if you live or care for vulnerable people.  For Health Anxiety in particular, I can work with you using responsible resources reflect… Read more

Written by Tracy Foster, Dip.Couns, Dip.CBT Registered (MBACP)

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