Personal boundaries are the guidelines you put in place regarding how you want to be treated by others and your expectations regarding their behaviour in your presence. Healthy reasonable boundaries can create mutually respectful relationships. Your response to someone else’s unacceptable behaviour makes your boundary clear.

Assertiveness is a respectful expression of your boundaries, values, principles and beliefs

Physical boundaries may include not wanting to be touched or not wanting someone to invade your personal space by standing too close to you. Having emotional boundaries mean that you are not open to answering a stranger’s personal questions or not being open to them telling very personal information about themselves. Sexual boundaries spell out what you are not prepared to do in bed or topics you will not discuss with someone you are not intimate with. Psychological boundaries mean that you will not allow anyone to bully or emotional abuse you. Financial boundaries should be put in place when someone borrows money and don’t return it or when you always have to pay for coffee, meals, entrance fees, holidays etc and they don’t contribute.

You shouldn’t assume that everyone has good values, principles, manners and healthy personal boundaries or that they will respect your boundaries. You need to be willing to stand up for yourself and to express your needs, beliefs, values and boundaries when someone violates them.

You have rights in relationships that others should not violate. You have the right to feel safe and respected in relationships. When someone violates your privacy, disrespects you or makes you feel unsafe or devalued you need to address it and make your boundaries clear. If you need to take steps against someone who violated your boundaries you shouldn’t hesitate because having a boundary and not enforcing it means that you don’t have a boundary.

You have the right to be heard and listened to. Express yourself respectfully.

You have the right to say NO. Don’t allow someone to twist your arm or to overwhelm you with pleads. Be firm and stick to your boundary. Walk away if they don’t stop. Sometimes you may need to take steps against someone who violates this boundary. No means no.

Learn to walk away from people who violate your boundaries when you have already made them clear. They clearly don’t respect you enough to behave appropriately in your company or toward you.

If you are incapable or unwilling to enforce your boundaries you may need assertiveness coaching or training. Some people have unexpressed boundaries and they get upset when someone violates their boundaries but they are incapable or unwilling to express their feelings to the person. Receiving counselling, coaching and/or assertiveness training will definitely help you.

If you or your spouse or perhaps one of your children find it difficult to express themselves help is at hand.

Elsabé Manning, Success Factory

084 371 9105

elsabe@successfactory.co.za