“We need to have a talk on the subject of what’s yours and what’s mine.”
― Stieg Larsson. 

I had never given much about boundaries until I was required to sit on a panel for a television show to contribute on the topic. Thinking about the topic left me in disarray, not because I lacked content, but because I came face to face with a reality I had been avoiding for a long time. This time, there was no easy way out but to face the truth.

It is possible that when the term boundaries only brings a picture of a tangible thing; a line of separation of sorts. This is correct, however there is more than a boundary being physical: emotional boundaries do exist too.

So, what is a boundary you ask, and its importance? A boundary is a limit you put for yourself that governs how you relate with family, friends, workmates, life partners and even strangers. A boundary defines acceptable behavior that you can condone. It is important to you (mostly) because allows for respect, development of self-esteem and promotes good relations with those around you. Physical boundaries are easy to identify, unlike emotional boundaries with are subtler. Physical boundaries almost seem automatic; emotional boundaries need more effort in defining them. You have to make an informed decision to define and stipulate your boundaries, there is no other way.

Learn To Differentiate Between Acquaintanceship And Friendship; Caring And Clingy. I Think We Waste Too Much Time And Energy Assuming One Is The Other. The Separation Is Very Thin, But It Still Exists. Let’s Not Get It Twisted.
~ One Of A Kind.

In their book ‘ From Stressed to Centered: A Practical Guide to a Healthier and Happier You‘ authors Dana Gionta and Dan Guerra discuss how you can manage stress levels in order to live a more peaceful, fulfilling life. They give advice on how to set personal and professional boundaries; and why this is important. Here are the guidelines they propose to help set boundaries.

  1. Identify you limits: until this happens then it is impossible to set clear boundaries. Define your mental, emotional, physical and even spiritual limits. Pay attention to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable because that is your limit. 
  2. Pay attention to your feelings: humanity is controlled by emotions, either negative or positive, it is how we are wired. This is why our thoughts become things. Feelings give us cues of what we can and cannot take from people. Guilt, discomfort, resentment are examples of feelings that should tell you that a boundary has been crossed.
  3. Give yourself permission to set boundaries: something most of us lack the courage to do. We let ourselves get wrapped up in this rat-race called life; we are busy trying to please everyone (even those people who don’t even notice us); we are so concerned with everyone liking us that we live a lie. Until you come to the place where you can be comfortable with your appearance, flaws, strengths then you won’t live fully. Until you allow yourself to set boundaries, then you will live in disappointment as everyone will throw their trash at you without feeling guilty or being apologetic. Learn to say no to situations that make you unhappy; say no as many times as you need to because it feels right to you. In the end, if you want your ‘yes’ to be valuable, then learn to get comfortable with you ‘no’. Learn to allow yourself to set boundaries. 
  4. Lastly, consider your environment as you set boundaries. Boundaries set for family relations will not be the same boundaries that apply to friends. It is important to learn context when setting boundaries.

You and I have one life to live, to some it is long yet to others really short, how do want to live it? Do you want to take control of it or are you okay with other people leading it for you? Look within and see what you have to do to attain the freedom to live the life you desire to live.

It Is Your Life, Own It Fully Without Guilt, Apologies Or Permission; But With Passion, Purpose And Pride ~ Dr. Steve Orma (The Selfish Expert)