Redefining well-being through the best practices of Jungian psychoanalysis

Psychological boundaries – the safe divide

“Boundary setting helps you prioritise your needs over other people’s wants.” Lauren Kenson

We all want to feel safe, secure, and respected, yet we tend to neglect the need for psychological boundaries. Many of us find it difficult to set appropriate boundaries as we don’t want to hurt or offend others, even when it is at our own expense. We put the feelings of others ahead of our own needs and then wonder why we feel anxious, resentful, have no energy, or at times feel taken advantage of.

Boundaries provide us with a safe personal space and, when implemented correctly, show ourselves and others our sense of self-respect. In simple terms, boundaries are the standards we set to protect ourselves in relation to others or situations; they protect us and provide us with comfort. In essence, they are a reflection of the principles, guidelines, and values that we have set for ourselves.

As with anything in life, you can either be mindful and deliberate with your boundaries or let others choose them for you. Join me as we dig deeper into the value of boundaries across our various relationships and how to set them.

Boundaries, not walls!

“Healthy boundaries are not walls. They are the gates and fences that allow you to enjoy the beauty of your own garden.” Lydia Hall

The difference between boundaries and walls can be determined by the end result – boundaries are set to protect your wellbeing, walls are a defence mechanism leading to isolation. Through setting up boundaries, we are, in effect, prioritising ourselves. It is a necessary form of self-empowerment as opposed to keeping others away. Boundaries are also deliberate, as we must become clear on our intentions and communicate our boundaries effectively to others.

Walls, on the other hand, cut us off from others. They prevent us from forming healthy connections, communicating effectively, and sharing our feelings. Walls generally come from a place of pain. We erect these solid and sturdy walls so that people can’t hurt us, but in the end, we end up hurting ourselves – being surrounded by walls is a very lonely place!

Relationships – creating personal boundaries

“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.” Mandy Hale

We have all been there – those relationships where we put our partners or friends above ourselves. We give our all to the other person even when it feels uncomfortable. A lack of boundaries in any relationship can lead to emotional manipulation, intentionally or unintentionally.

One of the most common areas most of us battle with is saying no. It is far easier to sacrifice your own needs as a way of avoiding confrontation or out of fear of upsetting your partner or friend. This generally occurs when we have no pre-defined boundaries in place, and as a result, our partner or friend is blissfully unaware that they have overstepped the mark because, let’s be honest, we probably aren’t sure either.

It is never okay to sacrifice what is important to us to satisfy someone else’s needs, no matter how much we love or care for them. This will only lead to resentment and built-up frustration, and as we know, you can’t keep those feelings hidden forever!

What boundaries are important for you in your personal relationships?

Work – setting boundaries for your own sanity

As they say, “The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who were benefiting from you having none.” This is applicable to so many of us when it comes to our work environment. We forget that if we don’t look after ourselves, we won’t be able to be effective at work.

Being the person who always stays late and never says no, may seem like the ideal way to show our dedication, but in the end, we will burn out. Or perhaps you find yourself checking your emails and texts and responding after hours; yes, you are that employee that everyone can get hold of whenever they need to, but at what cost to you?

Life is all about balance, and boundaries allow you to create the space to bring balance into your life. Life cannot be all about work; you need time to regenerate, time to think, and time to be. You are your most important asset, and if you don’t look after yourself, you are guaranteed to be less effective at work in the end!!

What boundaries can you implement at work? Just for this week, leave work at a normal time and leave work at work!!

Family – creating harmony through boundaries

“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.” Brene Brown

This quote has helped me set my own famiy boundaries. Families can be tricky to navigate, and as for setting up boundaries, well, you are bound to upset someone. But if you think of it as being compassionate, it puts a whole new slant to it. Family is important, and time together should be treasured, not full of resentment or frustration.

Family members are often the kings of assumption. They assume you would love to see them without warning. They assume you are always there for them, even at 1 am. They assume you are free to babysit or can’t wait for them to come and stay for a month. We each have our list of irritations which is the ideal way to spot where boundaries are missing.

We don’t choose our family, but we can choose our boundaries. After all, a happier you will definitely be more fun to be around!

Make a list of your irritations and look at what boundaries you can implement – there may be some resistance at first but remember, people treat you how you allow them to!

Parenting – boundaries with our children

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” Brene Brown

Our children are a source of joy and as much as we love them, it is wise to start reflecting on letting them go into the world, building their own journeys, and blooming into individuals. The sooner we befriend this idea of healthy separation, the greater are the chances for us, as parents, to take responsibility for our own happiness and avoid codependency.

Boundaries in parenting can be thought of as Henry Cloud says, “They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom.” And that applies equally to both parents and children.

Children need to be aware that parents are people and that there are clear boundaries that provide a platform for mutual respect. Boundaries are not always big things; they can be as simple as knocking before entering your bedroom, not interrupting a conversation, or speaking rudely. It often is the small things that make a big difference.

Discussing respect and what that means for each family member can be a great way to set boundaries.

Communicating boundaries – effective implementation

“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.” ~ Brené Brown.

Setting boundaries requires us to become self-aware. We need to clearly understand our expectations regarding ourselves and others and what we are and aren’t comfortable with. But none of that will matter if you are unable to communicate your boundaries. Without effective communication, they will simply remain as thoughts.

You need to be assertive and express your feelings openly so that people will listen to you. You need to assert your needs and priorities, and you can only do this if you are clear and straightforward. We sometimes find it easier to talk about what we don’t like as opposed to what we want, and when it comes to communicating your boundaries, this isn’t an option.

Not everyone is going to jump on board, but if you reinforce your boundaries whenever they are crossed, you will find that behaviors will change. Stand firm and remember that you should always be your number one priority!

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