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Boundaries are an essential aspect of self-care. They help us to maintain perspective and keep our energy and focus.  You can still have limits while remaining caring and compassionate towards others.  Boundaries can be difficult for people who put others before themselves.  When we don’t take care of ourselves, we can not take care of others.  Here are some boundaries and why you should have them.

1. Put yourself first: Putting yourself first does not mean that you do not care about others.  Putting yourself first says that you understand and respect your personal goals, emotions and needs.  When you appreciate your own needs, you do not put the needs of others before your own.  When you continually put the needs of others before your own, resentment builds.  Often times in relationships and in your career, you may need to find a way to have your needs met while still respecting the needs of others.

2. Self-awareness: When you are self-aware you understand what you are emotionally, physically and psychologically capable of.  You do not push beyond this because you understand that this will cause damage to your personal well-being.  When you push yourself over your limits you become drained, stressed and lose perspective and energy.

3. Keeping guilt in check: Sometimes we might feel guilty if we don’t help out a friend, co-worker, family member or spouse.  Helping others is a positive thing that can help to bring happiness and increase your self-esteem.  However, when we are already tapped out mentally or physically, helping others might interfere with the balance in our own lives.

4. Remain balanced: Balance means that we have enough physical, social and mental activity to keep us happy and motivated.  When we lack balance, we become irritable and tired.

5. Don’t take things too personally: Sometimes people become irritated, critical or upset with you.  Understand what is going on with the other person, you and the situation from a third party perspective.  Can you improve your behaviour?  Is the other person projecting their own insecurities onto you? Is the situation one that needs to be fixed?

6. Communicate your needs:  Often times people have a different needs priority list.  Miscommunication happens if you expect people to read your mind.  Tell the other person what your needs are, and stand firm.  Do not let the other person take your needs for granted.

7. Cost-benefit analysis: If you find yourself confused if you should stay in a situation or with a person, do a quick cost-benefit analysis.  Is this situation going to pay off in the future with a cost now?  Is the cost higher than the benefit?  Is there any benefit at all?

8. Be patient with yourself: If you are not used to asserting your needs, boundaries will be difficult.  Take it a day at a time and give yourself some space.  Keep trying until you understand your needs and are communicating your needs.

9. Reach out for help: If boundaries are difficult for you due to past abuse or a lack of confidence, reach out for help.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

2 comments

  1. Boundaries are a fascinating topic!
    In my opinion, it seems obvious that each of us is “in charge” in our own house, on our own property and in our own car.

    Therefore, we have the right, to tell others that:
    They won”t smoke in our house
    They will NOT bring their dog with them when they visit us, as we don’t want their dog’s doggie-doo in our yard–and–
    When they are riding as a passenger in our car, they don’t control whether you have the radio or one of your favorite music CD”s on, or off. (No one made them ride with you).

    But– reasonable as those may seem, (who is in charge at *their*house?), you may still be called: selfish, inconsiderate it possibly even a narcissist. But does anyone ever ask if it might really be that this other person is nearly always trying to get *you* to back-down and do things their way—even when—they are on YOUR “Turf”…ie., your house, property or .car.

    And then let’s go one step further. Perhaps it’s easy to agree that our rights should be respected in our car, our house or apartment and in our yard, but—-most oeople, even if they are “Pro-Boundaries” , and Pro-Assertive, will have a harder time “Enforcing” our Boundaries, say, at work with our boss, or in a group of 8 or 10 others. How can we “be effective” in Enforcing our Boundaries and “setting limits” when we are NOT “on our own Turf”? I’d like to see more discussion of this. How can we say no without losing our job? And if we can’t, then how do we keep from being “doormat’s”?

    One more thing—- when thinking about Boundaries…..if we said: I would “put my foot down” if a stranger did that to me.
    Oh really? If that”s really true, then WHY do we so often give so much more “power” to our family/relatives, when we would never put up with the same thing if a stranger did it?

    Ahhh, boundaries. There is so much that is still left unsaid, or not yet figured out. But it”s a fascinating, and relevant, topic. 😁

    1. Thank you for your well thought out comment. I think everyone has their own strategy on the self and the other person or people. It varies culturally. Personally, I like to use a cost benefit analysis. How much will this cost me, and how much will it benefit me? For example, if you want to tell your boss that you would like to work certain hours, he can say yes or no. If you communicate it in a polite way, the cost to you is low, and the benefit is high if your boss says yes. If he says no, you weigh out how much that job is costing you energetically and if you will stay.

      I would like for others too comment on this topic as well.

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