Creating and Maintaining Healthy Boundaries
Boundaries can be defined as an imaginary line that guides, rules or limits the relationships with people. Identifying safe and reasonable behavior expectations based on past experiences, beliefs, social situations and opinions. Boundaries are also how one reacts once the lines are crossed.
Me: Hi my name is Lakisha Corbett, and I have boundary issues!
Group: Hi Lakisha, Welcome!
Show of hands how many people feel like they need to create healthier boundaries with yourself and others. (Waits to see hands rise) It’s no secret that most of us have border issues, and I’m not ashamed of my issues.
People change for two reasons: either you learn enough that you want to, or you’ve been hurt enough that you have too. –Unknown
Have you ever heard me talk about how I got fired? I always mention it but I never actually state the reason, well here is the shortened version. I was a store manager for a company and due to lack of boundaries and respect from my subordinate; we got into a physical altercation. After I asked her to do something (clearly in her job description) she declined and became defensive. I do not condone violence or fighting (trust it only lasted about 60 seconds), but I was attacked and felt I needed to defend myself.
As a manager and human being, I never feel like you need to place your hands physically on anyone else. Disagreements should be disputed with words, or you should walk away until you are ready to act like an adult. I will not blame anyone else for my behavior, however, if I had stronger boundaries set in place, this situation would have never happened. I was too friendly with my coworkers, leaving room for disrespect.
Here are three steps to help you build and preserve healthy boundaries and all of your relationship:
1. Clarity: You need to be clear with yourself regarding the expectations you have for others. What you will and will not be accepted. Be honest with yourself and clear with others, how being a part of your life, they are required to treat you up to your standards. Or actions will be taken to limit or removed them from your life.
2. Assertiveness: Stand firm and stick to your guns. If someone's actions are negatively affecting your life, address the issue head on. Don't be timid and downplay your feelings. We are all human and people make mistakes, but there is a limit to how many mistakes you will or should allow. Express your concerns in a respectable manner without losing yourself.
3. Crossing the line: You need to protect yourself verbally and physically from others who do not have your best interest at heart. Violations to trespassing (imaginary lines) should result in disciplinary actions. You have to be aggressive; people will walk all over you. You have to respect the boundaries you have set for yourself and not be afraid to cut people out of your life or limit your contact.
To have healthy relationships, you need to enforce the boundaries you set for yourself. Command respect from others and be clear that negative behavior will not be tolerated. I cannot tell you how many times I have loaned money to people and never received it back. And not because they were in desperate times but because they didn't respect me enough to give it back. No matter the amount, it is about respect. Every relationship you are a part of should appreciate your time, money and energy, if not eliminate them from your life.