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  • Writer's pictureEric Fisher

A Most Essential Boundary

Updated: Jan 29

At this point, almost everyone has heard about the concept of boundaries. Whether you've pursued therapy or not, the idea has crept into the public consciousness. If you dislike the term, the words "preference" or "limit" can be used instead. No term reigns supreme.

Boundaries are set by you and for you. They are not meant as an ultimatum or a manipulation tool. Boundaries are not created by anger, resentment, rage, or bitterness. Both logic and emotion must be considered when designing a boundary. The logical portion may be whether or not this boundary makes sense for me in the here and now. The emotional component often entails inspecting my feelings while constructing a limit. What emotions are driving this boundary creation? What am I feeling as I create this boundary for myself?

Several templates are frequently used for verbally stating a boundary to someone else. One of those is "When _______ (you do this particular behaviour), I feel ______ (insert emotion). If you continue to _______ (behaviour), I will have to (consequence of enforcing the boundary). That may mean leaving the conversation as a consequence.

There are many types of boundaries: time, sexual, physical, emotional, intellectual, and material. We won't go into those in-depth. Standing up for our needs is one of the most essential boundaries we will ever set. Sounds simple, huh? If only that were the case.

There are several barriers to people asserting what they need in life. People pleasing. A fear of disapproval. Attachment injuries due to childhood experiences. Low self-worth. The list is extensive.

We will look at four types of needs: spiritual, emotional, relationship, and occupational. We'll succinctly focus on these four types of needs and how these apply to boundaries.

A spiritual need may be allowing myself to set aside time for prayer, meditation, and connecting with a higher power (God, nature, cosmos, universe, and so forth). This would include a time boundary I set where I may need to say no to an event to fulfill this sacred time for myself. An emotional need may be to feel respected by others. If I feel disrespected, an emotional boundary may need to be established. If someone disrespects me, then action will be taken to help keep myself safe and secure.

One relationship need may be finding a balance between alone time and time with a partner. With this comes physical and time boundaries regarding how often I may spend close to a person and the frequency of the time together. Discussing with a partner the balance I am trying to achieve may be essential to pursue. Verbalize when I need time for myself and want to do something together.

An occupational need may be time management for structured breaks to aid with rest. Therefore, time boundaries yet again. The break may only be five minutes. Hey, five minutes of taking it easy!

So, there you go. Boundaries to help make sure our personal needs are being met. I hope this information can apply to you in daily life. Set boundaries to help keep you safe and sane. I wish you all the best in your journey!

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