Developing Healthy Personal Boundaries.

pain to learn. As difficult as they can be to navigate, I need healthy relationships. But in order to have healthy relationships, personal boundaries need to be established.

In this article, we will discuss what healthy personal boundaries tend to look like. As well as discussing some manageable ways to develop them.

Personal Boundaries
Photo by Jules D. on Unsplash

What are Personal Boundaries?

A simple definition of a boundary is that it is a “dividing line.” Not surprising for you to hear, It is the place where one thing ends and another begins.

With relationships come boundaries, there is me and then there is the other. Sure we may share in a relationship. Though we are most certainly our own individuals.

Anyone of the many relationships I am a part of do not make me, me. I am not my marriage, my family, my job, or the recovery program I attend. These are relationships I am a part of, and though they are extremely important to my healthy world, they are only a part of my world.

Without personal boundaries, any relationship could turn into a distraction from the rest of life. Meaning that they will get way too much of our time, attention and effort. We can engulf them and they engulf us. Leaving other areas of our lives to suffer, which in turn causes suffering for ourselves. As well as harms the relationships we end up neglecting.

Why Our Personal Boundaries are Important.

Our personal boundaries set the parameters for the type of lives we are going to live. They decide what we do, who we do them with, where we do them, and how often. If we do not figure out the proper boundaries we need to live the types of lives we deep down desire, well then we are set for some disappointment in life.

To progress in the multitude of areas in our lives, we need balance and proper time management. We need to learn to say no when we need to say no, and yes when we need to say yes. Understanding that we are the only individual in control of our next moves is crucial in seeing the importance of personal boundaries. Only I can let my work know that I cannot pick up that extra shift. And I don’t think anyone else is going to let my wife know that I need that next recovery meeting.

Detaching from what we think, others think we should be taking care of, is a difficult thing. But it’s the only way to properly care for the dizzying amount of responsibilities all us productive folks human beings have.

Without personal boundaries, we may also end up with not enough personal time. Becoming resentful as people seek too much of our time and we don’t have the boundaries to say sorry but I can’t help with that. We also may end up allowing unhealthy people too much freedom to mingle in our worlds. And may end up taking advantage of us in return.

There are many reasons that personal boundaries are important. But where do we begin with creating the healthy version?

Developing Healthy Boundaries is On Ourselves.

First of all, when it comes to healthy personal boundaries, they are of course personal. They are our own. Nobody can set up our personal boundaries for us. That responsibility falls squarely on ourselves.

Since healthy boundaries are personal, I take that to mean that they may look very different from person to person. This is because we all have different values and beliefs, and different levels of comfortableness with stretching our boundaries. Nobody can tell us what is important to us or what is manageable for us. They are able to give us some hints, but ultimately we have to find all this out through our own trial and error.

Finding Boundary Balance.

To handle the responsibility of developing healthy boundaries it is important to understand a few things. It’s important to know whether our boundaries are currently too rigid and keep too many of our relationships shut out. Or do they seem to be nonexistent, not allowing ourselves to stand up for ourselves? If we can’t be sure on our own, then we can ask a handful of trusted friends and they should be able to help find valuable info.

Having too rigid boundaries may make us seem a little scary and ward off potential opportunities to grow. Whereas too loose of boundaries may have us all over the place, tossed around by the requests and attention of others. Both of them have their dangers and rewards. What we are looking for here is a balanced approach, one that neither makes us too scary to others. But also doesn’t leave us looking and feeling like pushovers. And of course, allows ourselves to have our own personal decision making space to feel in control of our lives.

Developing a balanced approach may not be easy if we are entrenched in a certain boundary pattern. It will require experimentation with new habits. As well as feeling all sorts of emotional energy that fuels the old habits.

What Healthy BoPersonal Spaceundaries May Look Like.

A lot of the time when my personal boundaries are on point, I don’t even need to let others know what they are. They just get a feel for them.

But that is not always the case so learning to communicate boundaries effectively is the only way to ensure that they will be respected. The assertive approach for letting others know we are busy and unavailable is best. This means respectfully but promptly letting requesters understand why we are unavailable.

But I feel even most people with already assertive natures will go a little too far in teaching others the lessons of their boundary-breaking. Or they may try to sneak off, avoiding requests they would rather not partake in. I am guilty of both of these. Honestly, though I think these tendencies are just part of being human. There is nothing wrong with them as long as they don’t become our primary approaches.

I feel the next important aspect is that they are set and shown consistently. This speaks to integrity. If I am going to tell people I have certain boundaries, then that is something people should be able to expect in the future. And if we are going to break them, then we better have a damn good reason. Because believe me, people are going to notice.

Of course, life changes often though, and as responsibilities change so do priorities and boundaries. I know this well since my wife and I welcomed our beautiful baby girl into the world. Through the process, I have come to find that as long as my boundary changes are reasonable and well communicated, my relationships seem to be understanding.

Conclusion.

Setting healthy personal boundaries can be a difficult thing to do. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to avoid relationships altogether. But having healthy relationships is very important in building a healthy life. Learning to develop healthy boundaries can ensure that we are able to balance out our relationship workloads. Getting the most out of them while still having our presence enjoyed.

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

 

Quit Numbing Your Ambitious Energy.

There is a great deal of ambitious energy that naturally seeks to create in the world through us.

Neglecting to use this energy brings pain, and a desire to numb out and escape this pain. Though numbing out this pain may temporarily help with the pain, it also has other undesirable consequences.

My Painful History of Numbing out Dreams.

I remember when I was in the heart of being a using addict. There was a paralyzed feeling when it came to attempting anything that may better my life. This came from years of letting myself and others down. For me, to dream was to come face to face with the reality of how hopeless I felt.

This also happened before using chemicals ever came into the picture. Though early on it wasn’t such a paralyzed feeling. There was a level of resistance that grew over time.

When I first began using I thought I found the solution. It felt magical. I found myself not caring as much about being awkward in social situations. And not caring as much about letting others down. Though as the years went on, the using escalated and my hopes and dreams began passing me by, one by one. Using was the best I could do to not go crazy from the stress of not living my ambitions

In the end, the amount of using that needed to happen to keep the stress dampened destroyed my body from the inside out. Numbing out the stress of my unlived ambition didn’t make the stress go away it only gave me more to work on once I stopped.

Ways of Numbing and Escaping Ourselves.

I have been clean and in recovery from addiction for a decade now, but still, find myself trying to escape reality on the daily. From what I see, much of society seeks to escape reality compulsively on the daily.

In the last My Life Experiment article, we touched on the importance of setting aside time for relaxation. The troublesome thing is that these same methods that may be used for relaxation, can very easily turn into methods for numbing ourselves to current unwanted emotions.

Be it social media, Netflix, daydreaming, thinking, partying, reading, shopping, self-righteousness, worry, sex, sarcasm, anger, etc, etc.. The list goes on in on. My sponsor in recovery likes to say that a person can become addicted to anything they can do more than once. I tend to agree.

Maybe not all methods of numbing and emotional escapism have as severe consequences as the way I used chemicals, but they all have undesired consequences.

The Balance Between Relaxation and Escapism.

Numbing Escapism

A big consequence of too much escapism is having life thrown off balance. When binge-watching the latest series on Netflix we are generally not doing all sorts of important things I could be taking care of. When staring at our phones too often we are likely not getting as much quality time with my relationships. So, in turn, we miss out on new opportunities to grow and experiment with life.

Whenever a tool for relaxation interferes with other healthy desires too often, escaping may be the mission, not just relaxation.

I get it though, it is important to take ourselves off the grid throughout the day. Whether that be a little daydreaming, checking the phone, or having a good laugh with a friend. I don’t believe we as human beings are supposed to be ultra-productive every moment of our lives. That idea makes me cringe a little when I think of it.

So how can we know when we are Escaping rather than relaxing? There are some questions we can ask ourselves.

  • Am I spending too much time doing this activity?
  • Are there any important decisions I am putting off?
  • Is there a fear I am experiencing?
  • Do I feel like I am avoiding conversations with others?
  • Are my nerves on particularly high alert?

If these questions prove to ring true then there is probably some numbing out to escape reality going on. So it would be a helpful idea to take care of the problem area these questions are alluding to.

Seek Feeling Not Numbing.

It seems that some of the numbing we seek is to escape the fear of the future. Others to escape painful feelings of the past.

There are a couple things the past and future have in common. First of all, they do not exist, either anymore or not yet. Second, the only time the emotions about them exist is in the present moment.

The present is also the only place we can seek to escape them, as well as the only place that we can feel them. But we cannot feel them when compulsively seeking relief from them.

We need to slow down, let go and be vulnerable. Once we are able to calm our nerves and feel what we need to feel we can get back to the moment. Then we can get our thoughts and bodies back in a healthy relationship with our ambitious energy.

We all have our histories that have grief, trauma, and many other painful emotions. Getting in touch them is the only productive thing to do with them. Running away from them is not. They always catch up eventually. Attempts to escape them are fruitless, they don’t have to hunt us down like in the movies. They are right inside of us.

Feeling Not Numbing

Finding New Ways of Living.

Feeling these emotions is not enough though. Getting in touch with our ambition is not enough either. We need to decide to use this energy in a productive way.

When I entered recovery, I had all sorts of dysfunctional ways of behaving. I would guess that you are likely in a better position than I was. But even I was able to and continue to latch onto healthy new ways of behaving.

This requires letting go of the ways we waste our time and seek too much comfort from our ambition. Then both finding new friendships, hobbies, ideas to study and skills to learn. And most importantly finding better ways to bring value to the relationships we currently have.

There is no shortage of ways to be creative in our own little worlds. So my advice is to spread the energy around to many different areas. I would tell you what you should go have fun with but only you can figure out what brings you both challenge and pleasure for yourself. Have fun, my friend!

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We sincerely wish you amazing success in developing a healthy relationship with all your ambitious energies.

 

It is our belief that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.

 

Relaxation is Our Own Responsibility.

Life can be go go go far too often. The mind moving from one thing to the next, non-stop and habitually. My brain, in particular, cannot handle this type of activity for long. It has been immensely important for me to set aside time for Relaxation.

Balance Between Stress and Relaxation?

It is important to have a certain amount of stress in our lives to pump energy into our daily affairs. Though it is easy to go from a healthy amount to a territory of stress that will inhibit being productive.

According to the Yerkes-Dodson Law, “performance increases with physiological or mental arousal, but only up to a point. When levels of arousal become too high, performance decreases.” The law asserts that stress is only helpful when it is in a range that is not too low and not too high. Not too little stress because then there will not be enough energy to keep us engaged with an activity. And not too high of stress because then our nerves may get in the way of us being productive and successful.

There is a balancing act to be played with when it comes to how much we should relax and how much we should be amped up. This isn’t always easy with the world running at the speed it goes at today.

Balance Relaxation

The World wants a lot of Us.

To be honest, the world, in general, wants a lot out of each and every one of us. I am not saying that it seeks to keep us amped up, but does a damn good job of doing this. When it comes to finding the balance between stress and relaxation, the balance must come from our own efforts. The world wants our time and energy and we must decide how much of them it gets.

Relaxation is on me, people generally won’t let me know I need to relax until I am showing significant signs of fatigue. If I am getting too amped up with anger someone will say “maybe it is time to chill out man”! And when the bags under my eyes are hanging way low someone will ask, ” Hey, you look wrecked.”

This isn’t me complaining about how the world divvies out expectations, only saying I’m responsible to ensure I’m relaxing enough.

Relaxation Isn’t Always Easy.

Relaxing my mind after being busy can be like a full speed freight train putting on the breaks and stopping. It can take a mile or more for the train to come to a halt. The same goes for my mind when I am attempting relaxation. When too amped up and trying to relax, my mind has to go through a laundry list of items to process. The laundry list isn’t good or bad, my brain just needs to process it.

My biggest problem with relaxation is an attachment to electronic devices. In my car the radio is on, I get home and Netflix gets turned on, and the cellphone is a formidable adversary to my mind taking a nice break. The problem is that when I have time designated for relaxation, the time is filled with a further flood of information from the devices.

While my brain is supposed to be processing existing info and emotions, the new info being brought in is getting in the way of the process, creating, even more, to be processed!

I don’t know how many relaxation sessions have turned into scrolling through Facebook. A half hour into the scroll session I find myself angry and overwhelmed and don’t really know why! Well, I know why I just flooded my brain and it was counterproductive to my relaxation!

This isn’t even an argument against Facebook or other social media, I find them very useful for different purposes. But once again RELAXATION IS ON ME. The World is not set up to have me turn away from it. It wants attention!

Relaxation Requires Commitment.

Without a doubt, our own relaxation is on ourselves. Once and awhile an angel of a person will come along and say “you need to rest my child”. But those encounters are few and far between, so I cannot wait around for them!

Relaxation requires commitment, and commitment to a plan nonetheless. Here are some tips to help plan out a successful relaxation session.

1. Set Aside Time for Relaxation.

Without Setting aside the time for relaxation we are doomed from the start. Write the time into the schedule, if possible make it a routine time every week. This can save stress and complaining of not knowing when we will be able to relax. It is okay to set aside our time for ourselves.

2. Learn how to say NO!

The World around us has limitless responsibilities to offer us. If we don’t say No to the offers that would take our relaxation time away, we will give the time away. This means more stress and lost opportunity to relax! That is unless the opportunity gives more relaxation than what I was already going to be doing. It is okay to say NO!

3. Use the Devices Wisely.

A lot of the time, my devices get in the way of my relaxation and they need to disappear for me to relax. Though there are also ways in which my devices may enhance the amount of relaxation I feel. Sometimes I can find a good song that comforts me or a good movie that invokes important emotion. Hell, I even used an app called Insight Timer to help me meditate more regularly. So if devices can be used to enhance the relaxation process or help us feel an emotion, I say that is a good use of them.

4. People Find Relaxation in Different Sources.

What is relaxing for me may not be relaxing for you. Whether you find relaxation in fishing, meditating, napping, getting a manicure, taking a long drive or whatever else, then awesome. Find these sources of relaxation and put them in the routine as fast as possible, to find balance in a hectic world.

Relaxation Is on Ourselves.

Relaxation Responsibility

If there is anything I wanted to It is that RELAXATION IS ON OURSELVES. I cannot relax for you and you cannot relax for me. Our families, our spouses, our friends may help in the process sometimes but they cannot force us to relax!

You are worth setting aside some time to chill out and process what is needed to be processed and get in touch with the present. It is rewarding and crucial that you and I find time to do so.

Be busy when you need to be. Find relaxation when needed as well. When we find the balance between the two in this crazy busy world, life is a beautiful thing.

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here