Emotional wellbeing – Setting Boundaries not Barriers

Setting boundaries is an act of self-care, a way of respecting yourself and protecting your energy.

Boundaries can be physical and emotional and are a way of creating space between yourself and another person. For example, declining physical contact from a colleague is setting an important boundary and one that’s just as crucial as setting an emotional boundary such as asking that same colleague not to make unreasonable demands on your time or emotions.

Rather than thinking of boundaries as something we have to incorporate into the relationship we have with others, they are in fact about strengthening the relationship we have with ourselves – respecting and protecting our own feelings and emotions.  This may not sit comfortably for some, but the truth is that having no boundaries depreciates our self-esteem. Our overall sense of self-worth or personal value moves into the negative. We like and appreciate ourselves less. How? Personal boundaries are directly linked to our core values – the things that matter the most to us. By ignoring or suppressing our innate values we can’t feel and be our best selves.

Barriers, on the other hand, can limit us. They have the power to block potential, kill dreams and hide opportunity. Emotional and physical barriers develop through creating limiting beliefs about our capabilities, what we think of ourselves and the world around us. The tricky thing with barriers is that often they are built unconsciously through experiences and circumstantial changes, only to be consciously recognised when our mental and emotional health shows signs of suffering. Barriers can prevent growth and threaten our happiness and fulfillment.

Boundaries are a conscious creation and wholly about honouring ourselves – two things that can be incredibly hard to do! We notoriously shy away from putting our emotional happiness and mental wellbeing first and taking the time to purposefully and mindfully create boundaries that will serve us and no one else, for many is viewed as an act of selflessness rather than self-care. And who has the time to spend on it anyway? Frustratingly, instead, we allow what matters most to slide to the side and make way for the potential for Burn-out, resentment, and anger.

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