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How Do I Know Where My Boundaries Are?

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

We all have boundaries, but it can be hard to know where these boundaries are sometimes. Here are 4 questions to consider when evaluating where your boundaries are.


  1. How do I feel when I am interacting with this situation?

  2. What thoughts am I having about this interaction?

  3. What are my morals and values?

  4. What do others think about this interaction?


With these 4 questions, you will be able to figure out where most of your boundaries are! Let's take a dive into each of these questions.



How do I feel when I am interacting with this situation?


If you are feeling uncomfortable, annoyed, or frustrated, it might mean that a boundary is being crossed.


Ex: A stranger comes up and gives you a hug to say hi and you feel really uncomfortable. That is an indicator that this person has just crossed a physical boundary of yours.



What am I thinking about this situation?


Like paying attention to how you feel, paying attention to what you are thinking helps you to know if there is a boundary that has been crossed. If you have the thought, "that was really weird." Or "what were they thinking?" It might be an indication that you do not have the same boundaries as the other people in that interaction.


Ex: Your boyfriend says, "you are not allowed to wear that to the gym." If your initial thoughts are, "haha, that's funny, he is obviously joking." or "who do you think you are? You cannot tell me what I can and cannot wear," it probably means that he has crossed a boundary of yours.


It is helpful to look at these emotions / thoughts and situations with a non-judgemental lens. When you do this, you are more likely able to see the situation and your response to the situation in a more objective manner, rather than judging yourself for having the thoughts and feelings. When you are more objective, it is easier to recognize your boundaries and boundary violations.



What are my values and morals here?


This question takes a little more time and energy to sort out. Most of us can easily confuse goals with values and vice versa. When you think about values, these are your guiding principles, like spontaneity, loyalty, trust, connection, just to name a few. When you know what your values are, you know where you want to spend our energy. This will also make it easier to say no to opportunities that will take you away from our values.


(If you are interested in diving deeper into values please reach out! )


Ex: You are trying to see if a company is the right fit for you. Let's say you have the values of family, health and honesty. If you come across a company that sounds like a great position, but does not align with these values, you are more easily able to turn that down. You can even use these to test the company out. Let them know what your values are and see what their response is to them.



What do other people think about this situation I'm in?


When you talk to others about situations you have experienced,you tend to gain perspective about the situation. You can consider others' opinions of the situation and come up with your own conclusion. If there is a common interpretation of the situation, this might mean that there is an obvious boundary violation.


Ex: You get into a fight with your mother. You talk to your partner, best friend, co-worker and siblings and they all say that your mother cussing at you was not right. This probably means that your mother crossed an emotional boundary of yours.


The hard part about reaching out to others is that you don’t want to be judged. You can get stuck talking to people who will validate your experience without helping you see the whole picture. Try and talk to people who you trust, who are validating, and who are not afraid to challenge your thinking about a situation.

 

Hi, I’m Kristina Anzell, I am a Clinical Social Worker dedicated to providing compassionate and tailored mental health support for moms at all stages of motherhood. My mission is to empower you to thrive in your role as a mother while nurturing your own well-being. If you enjoyed this blog post, check out my blog here! If you want more information or are seeking treatment, feel free to reach out!

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