“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”
– Mandy Hale
A boundary is an abstract wall between two mortals. It’s meant to create a personal realm that acts as a shield to the cosmos that lies beneath. Boundaries can be physical or emotional. They can be rigid or porous. Remember your parents asking you not to play with the “notorious kids”? Setting up a boundary works in a very diverse frame. Witnessing a non-toxic pair in an Indian movie isn’t an everyday thing. I believe none of us are new to the ever famous nonchalant character of Naina from Yeh Jawani hai Deewani. This falls under one of those few instances in Bollywood movies where we saw a character respecting the thoughts and dreams of the other protagonist. The movie moves forward with Naina falling for Bunny. However, we see how the character keeps this to herself. She knew Bunny had bigger dreams and she didn’t want to interrupt his process. Meanwhile, we see her realise that she isn’t someone who can leave everything behind to pursue what her heart wants. This, right here, is setting boundaries for oneself.
WHAT ARE PERSONAL BOUNDARIES?
People age through experiences and inculcate certain ways to protect their inner self. This is where personal boundaries come into play. For personal boundaries, people set up healthy rules, limits, and guidelines for them to identify what is reasonable, permissible, and safe ways for other people to behave around them. This stands strongly as a no-trespassing zone. The violation of these boundaries often leads to consequences as set by the person.
We come across people who find it really difficult to decline a request. We also see people saying a very firm “no” to something they don’t agree with or when it is something they don’t want to do. The difference here lies in framing one’s personal boundaries. However, healthy boundaries flow somewhere in between the two.
THE THREE SET OF BOUNDARIES
Boundary, in itself, is a wide area circumscribing multiple opinions. There are 7 billion people in the world, each with a different point of view. It’s an area of contradictions. One person might appear controlling to others by enforcing their boundaries. Boundaries can encompass an individual as well as an entire family or society. Here, we will be talking about rigid, porous, and healthy boundaries.
Weren’t you irritated by that one friend of yours who used to be very controlling? Restrictions and control are the actual practices that govern the spectrum of rigid boundaries. People with rigid boundaries tend to have surface-level relationships. They fail to connect on an abstract level. They have firm boundaries. It isn’t as easy to sway in and out of their life. On inner levels, they are deeply insecure of changes and rejections. Hence, they try to set up a particular way of thought that shields their insecurities, thereby, widely setting up what is known as rigid boundary.
Have you ever come across a stranger on the internet who has narrated to you his entire life story in a matter of a few days? These over-sharing, extra comfortable humans come under the very generous category of people with porous boundaries. They are real people-pleasers and lack a strong identity. Remember that one friend who was involved in everyone’s crisis? The concept of boundaries seems foreign to them. It’s a fluid arena. They believe people can trespass in their lives as and when they please and they can do the same. They are gullible and have a tough time with manipulators. Bending over backward for other people and accepting the least of their decency is their everyday way of surviving in this world. Generally, they are some of the nicest people out there with the toughest of the field play.
Mental health and emotional stability are the two basic pillars of healthy boundaries. They establish one’s identity as an individual. People with healthy boundaries are generally tactical and keep a check on their needs, goals, and emotional health. Guided by positive self-esteem and values, they often keep themselves first without affecting others. They are often self-motivated and know the art of dealing with rejections gracefully.
HOW TO SET UP A HEALTHY BOUNDARY?
Healthy boundaries depend highly on the setting. For example, a person’s boundary on the work front differs widely from their boundaries in a relationship. Setting boundaries is essential to the existence of a healthy physical and mental state.
Framing a boundary requires you to be forgiving, calm, and respectful towards your existence. Don’t restrict yourself from working through your perspective. A healthy boundary requires you to master the art of communication. Share your thoughts on boundaries well in advance. Sometimes, the other person fails to respect our boundaries. As a result, the circumstances of violation kick in. Violators often pose a serious threat to mental health, peace, and harmony. Hence, a person should devise a foolproof strategy ready to execute every time violation comes into the picture.
The feeling of guilt, embarrassment, anger, and resentment might grow to be stronger with time. In such hours, remind yourself of your right to self-care and a better mental and emotional state. When the realisation dawns upon you, you will see how the world eats life out of people who don’t know how to maintain a space between the world and their inner realm. You will meet certain people with a similar mindset who will add up as a support system through your long journey of setting up a healthy boundary. With time, you will outgrow these nuances of guilt. You are the supreme owner of your time and energy. Your investment depends on your availability and generosity. The person in question shouldn’t be the one to manipulate you or trick you into doing something.
It’s a long journey of self-discovery and realization. Cherish it.
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