• Oriel

Boundaries and Freedom

Boundaries … what does this word bring up for you?

Rules and regulations, some serious delegation and awkward conversations? The dictionary says its ‘a real or imagined line that marks the edge or limit of something’. My business mentor this week described them as invisible fence posts, which really resonated with me.

Boundaries are about having the courage to care enough about yourself as well as others that you openly communicate what you are and are not available for. They are the fundamentals of self-respect allowing you to assert your personal values and can support a better sense of balance, freedom and fulfilment.

So what do healthy boundaries look like for you? Perhaps at home, they are about the division of housework and at work, they are about appreciating when to say ‘no’. And as more and more workplaces operate hybrid working, we see the blurring of boundaries like we have never seen before!

Without boundaries, your time, relationships, finances and mental health/wellbeing can all take a battering. We become hostage to other people’s plans, fire fighting and dealing with the urgent but not necessarily the important bigger picture personal goals.

Where would you score your boundaries (or lack of) on a scale of 1 - 10? 1 being very poor and 10 being very good. If you scored 10/10 then everything is exactly as you would like it to be. It’s your ideal! You may choose to score each type of boundary separately …

If you’re boundaries get a low score, ask yourself ‘what am I afraid of?’ If you’re a perfectionist and struggle to delegate this will undoubtedly impact. Similarly, if you’re a people pleaser and don’t want to hurt others then setting and managing boundaries isn’t going to come naturally. That doesn’t mean to say though that you can’t do it.

Setting and managing healthy boundaries is effectively a life skill and it can be done! You’ve grasped many skills already swimming, learning to read and write, learning to drive and the list goes on .. Sometimes you have to be a courageous communicator and trust in yourself to manage such conversations. It isn’t always going to be comfortable but it is important to flex that muscle particularly by being clear and consistent if people try to test your limit.

Take the opportunity to pause now and reset following the 3 C’s:

· Clarify in your own mind what you are and aren’t available for

· Communicate this to the other person keeping the focus on yourself without apology or overdetailing your rationale

· Craft consequences, which should be followed through if approapriate

Boundaries aren’t of course set in stone and as with your goals, you need to review them to make sure they still work for you and support your values and freedom.

So I’ll leave you with just one more question … what one action are you going to take in the next 48 hours to move you one step closer to your 10/10?

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