How strong is your sense of self?
I spent years not knowing who I was, what I liked, what I didn’t like, what I needed, what I didn’t need, what I wanted, what I was feeling… I could go on and on, but I think you get the drift.
This lack of a sense of identity meant that I struggled with setting boundaries. Of course! How could I possibly know what my boundaries were if I didn’t have a clear sense of who I was? You see, when you don’t have a sense of your own identity and set boundaries that protect you as an individual, you are likely to draw your identity and self-worth from the perception other people have of you, and that’s exactly how I spent a large part of my life. Having no boundaries often means you have no protection from being manipulated or entangled with needy people which leaves you feeling emotionally and physically drained.
It took me many years to learn that personal boundaries are limits that you set for yourself around what you will or won’t do, will or won’t tolerate, will or won’t accept. Ultimately, it’s a decision you make as to what’s ok and what’s not ok for YOU. And the thing about boundaries is that they are very personal. What’s ok for you may not be ok for me and vice versa.
Knowing what your boundaries are starts with finding who YOU are, without being defined by who’s around you. Once you make this discovery and accept yourself just as you are, you will come to realize that your value and your worth as a person is not dependent on others; you will flourish in the freedom of knowing that you can function perfectly well as an independent human being in your own right.
Boundaries are about YOU
I used to think that boundaries were all about the other person’s behaviour, but the truth is, boundaries are all about YOU!
If you believe that your boundaries are being crossed, it’s YOU who is crossing them, in the sense that you are enabling your boundaries to be crossed. Know that your boundaries belong to you, so if you set one, you’re the one who needs to maintain it. By not doing so, you’re teaching people that you don’t mean what you say. You’re teaching people that you’re not really taking care of yourself.
By taking responsibility for crossing your own boundaries, you move out of blame and victimhood, into responsibility and empowerment and that’s where you want to live – in empowerment.
I know it’s not easy if you’re just starting on your self-discovery journey. If you’ve spent years abandoning yourself, it can feel challenging, but take baby steps. Instead of thinking, what does he need, what does she need or what do they need, ask yourself, what YOU need. This is where it begins – start by making yourself a priority and giving yourself permission to put yourself first.
Having a healthy sense of self means you know your own worth and understand your emotional boundaries. This means being able to separate your feelings from someone else’s. If you take responsibility for the feelings of others, allowing them to dictate your own, or if you sacrifice your own needs to please others, you’re allowing someone else to regulate you emotionally. I struggled with emotional boundaries and sometimes still find myself thinking ‘what do I need to say or do to make everything ok?’ If you find yourself doing this, bring it back to you and ask yourself:
Someone else’s response to your truth is not your responsibility to manage. As harsh as it may sound, you’ve got to stop trying to manage someone else’s experience of you. When you do, you start to live in alignment with what’s true for you. You live in authenticity and integrity with yourself.
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If you’re ready to reacquaint yourself with you and get to know yourself at a much deeper lever, I’ve created a great FREE resource just for you, to help you as you embark on your self-discovery journey.
Grab your *FREE* SELF-DISCOVERY JOURNAL PROMPTS here and get ready to rediscover your true, authentic and amazing self!