Many problems in our lives have to do with relationships, and often the sources of these problems in relationships are tied to boundary issues. If boundaries are unhealthy, then expectations for our behaviors are defined by the changing circumstances around us. We become who we think we are supposed to be and then shame the person we really are, and live our lives behind those masks. By taking time to define our own, personal boundaries, we can have healthier relationships and, therefore, have happier lives. If we don’t know what we feel, we can’t know who we are. If we don’t know who we are, we cannot tell someone else who we are. Relationships are then based on false boundaries.
Healthy boundaries define who we are. Knowing who we are, what we believe, what we think, feel, like and want means that people can no longer walk in and out of our lives at will, making decisions for us based on their own wants and needs.
Healthy boundaries free us to be who we are. When we are free to be who we really are, we are better equipped to make our own choices instead of others making them for us. We are free from the control and manipulation of other people and free to do what we want to do for ourselves and for others.
Healthy boundaries enable us to be more accepting of others who are different from us. The whole idea of boundaries in relationships is to define our separateness from others. “I am me. You are you. You can be who you are and I’ll be who I am. I can allow you to be different from me and not be threatened by your differences.”
Healthy boundaries help us to remove walls of defenses. Things happen to us that are beyond our control. People do things that are wrong and offensive. We respond one of two ways to people when they do things to us: we either re-act or pro-act. If we don’t have boundaries, we are more likely to re-act, which can be like a wall or a cannonball, and will produce negative responses. Pro-actions, which are determined actions resulting from a firm sense of boundaries, are more likely to produce positive responses.
Healthy boundaries define our legitimate needs and those of others, and they enable us to meet them. Learning boundaries for ourselves should increase our awareness of other people’s needs and boundaries.
Healthy boundaries empower us to have intimacy in relationships. A healthy relationship happens when two people, who are in touch with who they are, share their feelings, thoughts and desires. If we don’t know who we are, it is nearly impossible to have a true intimate relationship.
Healthy boundaries bring order into our lives. If we are undisciplined and disorderly, our lives are going to be unmanageable. We will experience frustration, perhaps depression, and feel terrible about ourselves. If we are able to set boundaries, the reverse happens: a manageable life, with less frustration and more happiness about ourselves.
Healthy boundaries empower us to have self-discipline, maturity, and strength of character. Having healthy boundaries could very well be a definition of maturity. They help us grow up, and we automatically become more disciplined and mature. We will also have a strength of character that we did not have before.
Healthy boundaries empower us to say NO when we need to say NO and YES when we really want to say YES. We need to learn to say “NO” to the bad and “YES” to the good. “NO” is a powerful word. It is a complete sentence. It needs no explanation. This little two-letter word can be a powerful influence in establishing boundaries and coming to know who we really are.
Kingwood Pines Hospital serves the crisis mental health needs of people ages 5 and up. If you or someone you know needs an assessment for potential admission, or if you need more information, call our number and ask for admissions, 281-404-1001.