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Setting Boundaries – Part 1

April 25th, 2011 · No Comments · Personal Leadership

What stops us from courageously setting a boundary?

We tend to bump into three major stumbling blocks –or “myths” – that can trip us up when we launch into re-defining our boundaries with others in both work and personal relationships. Take a look at these and see which ones might be unconsciously stopping you from honouring your needs.

“If I set boundaries, I’m being selfish.”
Rather than being a self-centered act, establishing a boundary is an expression of love. It’s taking a stand for the relationship. We’re putting a stop to the unconscious, automatic behaviours – both of ourselves and the other person – that cause a breach of trust and functionality. Often, it means we need to stop our habit of putting the needs of others before ourselves and start to honour what’s really important to us.

“If I set boundaries, I will hurt others.”
Defining a new boundary with heart and grace can include other people feeling upset in the interim. Just as growing pains accompany healthy child development, conflict can be a natural component of healthy boundary development. While seeing another person feel disturbed or annoyed may be uncomfortable, we aren’t causing them harm. It’s only through honest boundaries that we have the safety and freedom for a real relationship.

“When I set a boundary I feel guilty, so it must be wrong.”
For most of us, each new boundary we set is outside of our comfort zone. Guilty feelings signal that we’ve chosen to act differently than the old familiar people-pleasing beliefs tell us to. The guilty feelings are simply “fallout” from taking a new risk for a more empowering relationship.

A boundary isn’t a wall, a self-centered act or a rejection of others. It’s an energy field that radiates out and is permeable. It supports you in being your authentic self, while allowing in love and new opportunities. In both work and personal relationships, healthy boundaries will lead to respect, genuine connection, freedom and creative collaboration.


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