How to smash down negative boundaries and rebuild good ones

The world is full of unwritten rules that govern our behaviour. The expectations of how we should behave are formed from an early age and for a large part, these come down to gender. Little girls are expected to play with dolls and be all sugar and spice but boys get to be ‘boisterous’, play with cars and shouldn’t really like sewing or dancing or being...well, anything but a rugby playing boy.

Society makes boxes for us to fit into. This happens from the day we’re born and over time we learn that (mostly subconsciously), it’s better to just fit the mould.

Boundary number 1 - being different. When I was growing up, I felt like I could really express my individuality through how I dressed. I went through a phase of wearing tie dye skirts with a velvet jacket (borrowed from my mum) topped off with a top hat and my green dm boots. It was definitely something you had to see. Until one day, a friend from home made a comment about me being different in how I dressed (that’s the polite way of saying it).

From that day on I dressed to fit in with the crowd. I wish I had known that when people follow their heart and not the crowd they face persecution. But this persecution is usually from those who are too afraid to follow their own heart and express their differences.

You no longer have to fit in. Who cares about that little box you’re supposed to occupy? We get to the point in life where we can actually make our own decisions and choices but sometimes we fail to recognise this or forget that we can. Why not embrace your differences by discovering your talents, skills and gifts? Some of these you might not even know exist.

Why not try an online course, coaching or go back to your childhood? What did you love doing then that you no longer do now.

Secondly, don’t try to be like anyone else. Comparisonitus is a really huge boundary and quite often it’s completely unfair. We make comparisons to other people that are based on their strengths which is usually against our weaknesses. This makes no sense. It’s an unfair comparison. Yes, someone might be amazing at social media or presentations but look at what your strengths are instead.

Start noticing the situations where you compare yourself to others. In the last 24 hours, have you compared yourself to others (especially on social media)? Know that you never really know what’s going on on the inside. The outside that you see is carefully curated.

Number 3 - perfectionism. How often do you strive to be the absolute best at what you do? Knowing it’s ok to not be perfect helps us to move forward. Let this one sink in - imperfectionism makes you who you are so you are already perfect….

Where perfectionism and comparisonitus are concerned, the best thing to do is to focus on the journey. We’re all at different points on our journey so comparing ourselves to others that are futher along does not work. We’re all on our own quest to find someone, to be someone or to do something. Remember that their journey is not yours.

With perfectionism, learn to love enough. If you always want what other have, you will never have enough. It’s just you in this race of life. So what journey are you on…? Where are you going at the moment?

We need to put fear aside. Too often we live in fear. Am I good enough? What happens if I fail are questions that ring in our heads. But remember this:

In life we don’t get what we want. We get what we think we deserve. I want you to believe that you deserve the best.

So know this: No boundaries = little self esteem.

We have to see that boundaries are there to help us. If something feels consistently uncomfortable, boundaries are being crossed and we need to do something about it. You see, you can’t change other people’s behaviour, you can only change yours.

So make yourself a priority. By allowing others to feel like they’re a priority over you allows them to occupy unnecessary space in your mind.

Boundaries are about honouring our needs so you need to tune into how you're feeling and what you want. So identify your limits and be clear about what these are. Consider what you can accept and what makes you uncomfortable. This could be about anything - personal or professional. What healthy boundaries do you want? For example, do you want to stop being a pushover or to start appreciating yourself a bit more.

When setting boundaries, it’s important to think about what rights you want.

So in order to identify the boundaries that you want, ask yourself the following and for each one, try and think of at least 7 answers:

People can not….

I can ask for….

To protect and look after myself, it’s ok to……

This may be that people can not criticise me. I can ask for help around the house or it’s ok to cancel appointments if I’m not well.

You see a lot of this is down to allowing yourself to be or act a certain or different way. Give yourself permission to do so. Imagine you have a permission slip. It is quite often that need for approval that is deep within us that holds us back or stops us.

How would you feel if you trusted yourself to make the choices in your life? How would you feel if you put your needs alongside or even ahead of those around you? Practice giving yourself permission on a daily basis and you can start with small things - a lot of the hesitance around creating good boundaries is that we feel we’re going to annoy someone so just give it a go.

The next thing you’ll be thinking is what happens when someone says something bad to me if I start to step up? Imagine you have an internal shield that is there to protect you when something bad happens. When they make a comment, bring down your shield and before you let the comment sink in, ask yourself these 3 questions:

How much of this is true about me?

How much of this is about the other person?

What do I need to do to regain my power or stand up for myself?

Because you can. You can regain your power and you can stand up for yourself.

Set the right boundaries and be true to yourself.