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Healthy Boundaries

So, back to boundaries…I confess, boundaries is a word that used to cause me to feel restricted, tied down and hemmed in. Maybe because I was a model child and rarely overstepped boundaries set by those in authority (parents, teachers etc)…although that is my memory of childhood and my mother may beg to differ!

Over time I came to realise there are ‘healthy boundaries’ that sustain us as individuals and are actually essential if we are to maintain some sense within our lives. I’m not talking about the laws of the land, I’m talking about boundaries we set in place for ourselves, based upon our own personal values and beliefs.

One of my core values is around respect and I therefore do my best to respect boundaries set by others…and in return, I’d like to think they could do the same for me!

Of course, in reality, we all have different core values AND different ideas around healthy boundaries. And of course, unless we have mastered the art of mind reading (I haven’t!), we have very little idea about other people’s values or boundaries, unless we happen to violate them in some way…then we know!

In my humble opinion, I would go so far as to say that many disagreements are caused by either values conflicts or boundary violations. I know I have experienced occasions when I say something which I think is totally innocuous, only to be met with a reaction I wasn’t expecting at all…I have managed to push their buttons!

And often, when we do push someone’s buttons and get a reaction we weren’t expecting, the chances are we have come into conflict with one of their values or personal boundaries.

As one of the NLP Presuppositions eloquently says “The meaning of the communication is the response you get.”

The good thing is that if we understand the reason behind their response (and our own, when our values and boundaries are tested), then we can easily take a step back, pause and reflect…and maybe do things a little differently next time.

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