SO as therapist a big part of my job involves guiding people to the healthy use of boundaries. Boundaries are beneficial in pretty much every sense- from eating to relationships to jobs. In personal and professional capacities boundaries are what helps people to “save their sanity”. I happen to pride myself on the use of boundaries in my own life. This may be because I apply what I teach or it may be that I teach what works for me.
For the most part I am the type of person that can both think on my toes and be quite reserved or I suppose some might say… stand offish. I can make decisions in a split second, I’m fairly comfortable with confrontation and I am pretty self-aware. I can also be.. I want to say guarded but I don’t think that’s the right word because guarded implies a sense of distrust. So I’m not sure what word to use other than reserved. So I’ll say I’m reserved. Being reserved and self-aware provides me with the ability to communicate at rapid speed when needed but to also be able to suddenly and quite efficiently put in boundaries.
The mis conception with boundaries is that it can be perceived that boundaries are used to keep people out. But what if instead of making “everything” about you, you stopped and considered that sometimes people use boundaries for themselves, to keep themselves safe and to check themselves. Boundaries are a necessary part of a satisfying life really. And I suppose that applies to my last post about not YOLOing your way through life. Being able to recognize when you need to stop and say to yourself “this isn’t working” or “this doesn’t feel right” and making the necessary changes so that whatever “this” is for you, does feel right.
Being confrontational is another social thing that gets a bad rep. There is a difference between being conflict orientated and being comfortable with managing and addressing issues as needed. There is a difference between being arrogant and being opinionated. Healthy communication includes the ability for a person to be able to express themselves but then to be able to also back off when needed- that’s the use of boundaries right? And that’s a perfect example of how a boundary can be used to benefit yourself and not necessarily to keep people out but really to keep yourself out- out of your own way.
There’s this phrase that really confuses me- “I don’t like confrontation”. By not liking do you mean that you are able to solve and resolve issues without any conflict at all or by not liking do you mean that you lack the ability to solve and resolve? Also let me add that most healthy minded people don’t actually like confrontation but they are able to work through it. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of times that I don’t address things that bother me. I have no problem using avoidance, in fact avoidance is another approach that I promote.
So lets talk about avoidance, yet another strategy that gets a bad rep! Avoidance can often be confused as passivity. A person applies and sticks with a boundary for their own benefit aka they avoid something that doesn’t work or doesn’t feel good to them and you confuse that as them avoiding or hiding from something. So we now see even more how these strategies are inter related and can be used cohesively. A person can be reserved and able to handle conflict. A person can use boundaries and avoidance. A person can think first about their own needs and be relationally healthy.
Self-awareness is the ability to know yourself in a way that is beneficial to your well-being. The purpose of being self-aware is so that you can apply boundaries, avoid the unnecessary, use communication skills, handle conflict- with solutions- as needed and maintain a healthy and satisfactory life.