In this final chapter on identifying boundaries we continue to explore how our boundaries and limits stem from our views about ourselves and how they impact our lives and relationships. Recognizing your value and making choices to support that value is an integral part of relationship building and maintenance. Boundaries can show your level of respect for yourself and your body through how you act and what people you allow to have influence over you. Learning that you have value can help you to understand that the way in which you treat yourself is how others will treat you. Treat yourself as if you have no value and you will gather people around you who will do the same. Treat yourself as you truly are, precious, and you will find yourself surrounded by love and support.Why Respecting Boundaries Is Crucial, Part 3
Damsel in Distress. Do you fall apart so that someone else will take care of you and take the burden off of your shoulders? Feigning or even truly believing in your own ineptitude may get others to take care of you or make decisions for you so that you never have to be responsible. However, it will also lead others see you as being less than them – less capable, less valuable, less worthy. If you already see yourself as those things then doing this will only increase your own sense of uselessness and the cycle will never end. Be willing to recognize your own strength and risk standing on your own.
Self-Abuse. Do you inflict physical harm on yourself? Do you degrade or judge yourself? Physical harm may be cutting, burning, hair-pulling, erasing skin, hitting or anything else that damages any part of you. Emotional harm is any negative thing that you tell yourself such as how stupid or lazy you are, how ugly or fat you are and so forth. When you do any of these things you are showing how little you think of yourself. It may feel right in the moment or you may feel you deserve it, but really all it does is support your core belief that you are not valuable. The more you hurt yourself the more vulnerable you will be to the people in this world who will take advantage of that vulnerability to exert their own power.
Sexual, Physical, Emotional or Verbal Abuse. Are you engaging in relationships in which you are abused by the other person? Please try not to excuse or justify their behavior. Putting the label of abuse on someone in your life can be frightening because of what it means to say that you are in that kind of relationship and what it means about you. It can also feel like, if you put the word to it, then you have to do something about it. But hiding from the truth of what is happening leaves you with no hope. Then the negative belief that you have about yourself that got you here in the first place will only get stronger and hope will seem even further away.
Food, Chemical or Alcohol Abuse. Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to cope with your emotions? When we do not have other skills to help us cope with pain we will often turn to substances and food. These are things that give us instant gratification, but no long term results. It will help you to feel better in the moment, yet the problem at the bottom of it will still be there. Avoiding may feel like it helps in the short term, but you then have no chance to find out how valuable you are and the cycle will continue until you make a change.
We all need to feel in control, it gives us a sense of safety and consistency. True control comes from making choices in your life that are based on full awareness of yourself and your goals. It can be hard to make a change to set limits and boundaries, especially if it is all you have ever known.
All of the boundaries in these articles are ones that can be adjusted and changed as you see fit. If you realize that you fall into one or more of these categories you will then need to figure out how or why you do this. That will be painful, but will lead you to the possibility of releasing some of that pain that you live with every day. Be willing to risk discomfort and change so that you can be the one in control of your world and your life.