Personal Boundaries During the Pandemic
Why do we let people violate our personal boundaries and do we always know when they do? Personal boundaries are the limits and rules we set for ourselves within relationships and interactions. A simple way to identify personal boundaries is to think about what’s ok and what’s not ok with you. We all have friends or family members that seem to forget there is a line between where they end, and we begin. These interactions will leave you emotionally exhausted and feeling disrespected. Your boundaries are yours and yours alone. Some may align with other people’s boundaries, but others will be unique to you and that is ok.
Everyone is entitled to adjust their boundaries as they feel necessary at any given time. Keep in mind, some people will have rigid boundaries and others more relaxed. Physical and emotional boundaries are crucial during the pandemic to keep people feeling safe and comfortable. Physical boundaries refer to personal space and what feels appropriate for an individual. Examples include having or not having people in your home, hugging or attending gatherings. Physical boundaries will vary from person to person, but during a health crisis, they are of heightened importance. Violating a person’s physical boundaries may cause them additional anxiety and stress. Emotional boundaries refer to a person’s feelings. Emotional boundary crossing occurs when someone criticizes, belittles or invalidates another person’s feelings.
Evaluate and set your physical and emotional boundaries as part of your self-care. These limits will reduce your anxiety with decision making, increase compassion for others and yourself while giving a boost to your self-esteem by making your personal needs a priority. A few tips for implementing your boundaries include:
1. Be clear, calm and consistent when stating your boundaries.
2. Breathe through the discomfort until it feels like empowerment if someone opposes one of your boundaries.
3. Let go of the need to apologize or give lengthy explanations.
4. Accept that some people will not respect your boundaries. You have the right to stand up for yourself.
“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.” -Brené Brown
Blog post written by Robyn Hunsucker, Clinical Counseling Intern of Green Door Therapy