Week 18 - What are Boundaries?

The eight prominent examples of boundaries include:

  1. SKIN - Your skin not only acts as a fence between your internal organs and the outside world, but it’s also the most basic boundary line. As quoted from the book, “Victims of physical and sexual abuse often have a poor sense of boundaries. Early in life they were taught that their property did not really begin at their skin.”

  2. WORDS - As a child, your most basic boundary setting skill was to say the word, “No.” Vocalizing your boundaries let people know that you are not an extension of them but you are an individual with your own likes and dislikes. Saying no also tells people that you are only responsible for and in control of you.

  3. TRUTH - Adhering to the Lord’s spiritual boundaries will help you make sense of your intrinsic worth, your inherent beauty, and your purpose on Earth. 

  4. GEOGRAPHICAL DISTANCE - This form of boundary setting literally removes you from the situation to help you maintain your boundaries. Sometimes this is necessary for you to create a safe space for yourself to heal.

  5. TIME - Taking time apart from your stressor allows you to regroup mentally and emotionally. The authors explain that taking time off from your stressors helps you regain “ownership over some out-of-control aspect of your life where boundaries need to be set.” It’s literally giving you a time out to breathe and think more clearly.

  6. EMOTIONAL DISTANCE - Everyone can experience emotional distance at one point in their lives, but this shouldn’t be a permanent way of living. By emotionally distancing yourself from someone or something, you’re temporarily protecting yourself from further harm. But emotions must always be addressed and worked out thoroughly.

  7. ACCOUNTABILITY - Giving people you trust the permission to speak into your life is a powerful way to help you set and maintain healthy boundaries. Some people can only create boundaries with the strength and guidance of a support group, and that is completely fine. You need people who will help you uphold your boundaries, not demolish or disrespect them.

  8. CONSEQUENCES - Laws, punishment, and consequences are all forms of boundary-setting. When a person or animal experiences the negative repercussions of their actions, they will most likely be more wary about repeating those same actions again. Communicating the consequences of your boundaries, and then sticking with them, lets others know the seriousness of the trespass and the seriousness of your self-respect. 

Now that we’ve identified and defined the 8 most common forms of boundary-setting, take the next five minutes to answer this reflection question in your journal:

Which of the 8 boundaries do you struggle with the most, and why?


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