How many times have you committed to something that you were really on the fence about and later realized you literally don’t have the time for it? Have you ever said “yes” when you really wanted to say “no” but didn’t have the nerve to do it? We must recognize our limits and teach others how to respect our limits as well.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in saying “no”. Knowing your limits and sticking to them is called setting boundaries. There are several types of boundaries, all of which help us to protect our peace. Since boundaries and limitations vary from person to person, it is wise to understand that you do not have to commit to things simply because others are doing so. Your situation may call for different actions and this is okay.
Personal boundaries are the limits and rules we set for ourselves within relationships. A person with healthy boundaries can say “no” to others when they want to, but they are also comfortable opening themselves up to intimacy and close relationships.
· Physical boundaries refer to personal space and physical touch. Violations include standing too close, inappropriate touching, being touched when you don’t want to be touched, even looking through your personal files or your phone.
· Mental boundaries refer to your internal sense of safety. Your thoughts and beliefs are special to YOU, and you are allowed to have them.
· Emotional boundaries refer to your feelings and allowing yourself to separate your feelings from those of others. Developing healthy emotional boundaries includes you gradually sharing personal information about yourself when meeting others as opposed to oversharing and revealing everything to everyone. Being careful not to take on others’ personal burdens is very important in setting emotional boundaries for yourself and protecting your own peace.
· Spiritual boundaries refer to giving yourself permission to develop a relationship with whatever higher power you relate to, if any. Avoid allowing others to control your calling or talents in your life.
Of course, you may have noticed the overlap between some of the boundaries. Allowing yourself to be aware of your own boundaries, including time, will provide you with the mental, emotional, and physical space you need to be comfortable with yourself. Cultural norms may have very different expectations when it comes to boundaries. For example, in some cultures it’s considered very inappropriate to express emotions publicly. In other cultures, emotional expression is encouraged.
The appropriateness of boundaries also depends greatly on the setting. What’s appropriate to say when you’re out with friends might not be appropriate when you’re at work. Know your limitations and begin thinking about protecting your peace today.