Do you often give as much as you can for the sake of giving? If the answer is yes, then you are not alone. Instead of strengthening our relationships, our "giving" can at times cause strain. We can find ourselves in a one-sided relationship with a "taker." This is a challenge that many of my clients experience when dealing with their families, peers and friends.
Our helping and giving aren't always sustainable and it can often consume our emotional energy. Often out of awareness many individuals prioritise the needs and wants of others. Most people don’t know their boundaries until they are crossed and feelings get hurt. An innocent offer of help can lead to an unexpected long-term burden. Setting clear personal boundaries is the key to ensuring relationships are mutually respected. Boundaries are a measure of our self-esteem because they set the limits of acceptable behaviour from those around us.
The consequences of having no clear boundaries can be disastrous. Many clients have described feeling disconnected with themselves because they give so much to others. This discomfort can trigger anger, resentment, and intolerance which are often indications they may need to consider setting their boundaries.
If you often feel uncomfortable by how you have been treated, then it could be time to reset your boundaries to a more secure level. Having a clearly defined boundary allows us to take control of our life. Healthy self-respect will produce boundaries that show you deserve to be treated well. They will protect you from exploitative relationships.
Another significant reason for defining strong boundaries is remembering the importance of saying "NO" to unreasonable requests. Even the reasonable ones from time to time can conflict with plans. It is important we take better care of ourselves and to not let others define who we are. If you are lonely you may widen your boundaries to seek out others for contact. If you need time out you may bring your boundaries in closer, by not responding to a call. Boundaries are important because they help us to live in tune with our desires, needs, and feelings. They help us to become less concerned about how we are viewed and more satisfied with the perceptions we have about ourselves.
I encourage my clients to recognise what is important to them and what they are willing to keep out or keep in. Having a sense of boundaries and limits helps us to connect with our true self. By affirming your boundaries it means that you value yourself, your needs, and your feelings more than the thoughts and opinions of others. Working with a UKCP psychotherapist (https://www.psychotherapy.org.uk/find-a-therapist) individuals can start to explore and voice their concerns when their boundaries have been crossed. Knowing yourself and being mindful of your own personal boundaries is an important part of human interactions.Remind yourself of your self-worth and what matters to you and that no one has the right to cross your borders.