Although it is vital for human begins to have boundaries, it doesn’t mean that they always have them. And this could be the case with some areas of their life or it could apply to each and every area of their life.
Ultimately, boundaries protect ones personal space and therefore stop others from doing things that could cause them harm. This doesn’t mean that one will never feel compromised or violated, but through having boundaries, these kinds of experiences are likely to occur a lot less often.
One doesn’t have to live in an environment that is war torn or extremely hostile for instance, in order to be around people who will cause them to feel violated in one way or another. Someone could do something that is not intended to take advantage of another and they could end up feeling this way.
And this is largely because each one of us is different and therefore feels comfortable with different things. What would be classed as acceptable to one person or in a certain culture might not be acceptable to another person or another culture.
But without even bringing different cultures into this, there are clear differences within the same culture. So one person could have absolutely no intention of infringing on another person space and yet that’s exactly what happens.
While there can be certain things that are generally recognised as inappropriate, there are going to be many others things that are personal and the average person might have no idea as to what these are.
This is why it is so important that one speaks up and stands their ground during these moments. Another person might be doing something on purpose or they might be completely oblivious, but as long as one notifies the other person, then there is a greater chance that they will stop.
Some people might carry on regardless and if this is the case, alternate action will need to be taken; from evasive action, to help from the authorities. However, when this relates to minor or accidental behaviour from others, the need to be assertive will arise.
And in order to do this, one must have their needs at the forefront of their mind and not the needs of another. If one is focused on pleasing another and on not causing any problems for example, then they might let another person walk all over them.
So one must value themselves and their own wellbeing or they could allow another to harm them, just to avoid being rejected or abandoned. This doesn’t mean that being assertive is about one becoming aggressive or manipulative.
What it does mean is that one will protect themselves in a way that causes minimal damage to others. In the majority of cases another person won’t be harmed, but if one was in a situation that had put their life or the lives of the people around them at risk, then one might need to go further.
However, it will typically be non violent and will be just be a way for one to look after their own being.
So if one already has boundaries and the people around them are aware of this, then there are not going to be many surprises. That is unless one goes into a new environment, but then the people in this new environment might not know what to expect.
When it comes to someone who hasn’t had boundaries and then begins to develop them, the people around them could be in for a big surprise. This is because they will have become comfortable with how one used to behave and now that they are changing, it is likely to create conflict.
In The Beginning
Over time, they might adapt or it could result in the relationship ending completely; it will naturally depend on many factors. But when one has just started to assert their boundaries, there could be resistance from others.
And this is going to be from the people that one spends most of their time with and all because these people are likely to have fixed ideas about what one is or is not like. So: friends, family, their partner and colleagues for example.
If one has let others walk all over them, agreed to do things they didn’t really want to do or let others touch them in ways that are inappropriate, then it is only natural that other people are going to react strongly when one no longer puts up with being treated in these ways.
As a result of one changing, there is as strong chance that the people around them will come on even stronger. This will be done to make one behave in the ways that they used to. And when this does happen, it is likely to be something that happens unconsciously and out of their awareness.
So one will need to stand their ground and do their best not to revert to their old ways or behaving. If another continues to behave in the same way and doesn’t change, then one might need to keep their distance or cut them out of their life altogether.
On one side will be the emotional experience that one is having through standing their ground. And this could involve feelings of being abandoned and rejected. Because even though one is starting to protect their personal space and doing the right thing, it could also trigger feelings that make them feel as though their survival is at risk.
And on the other side will be the emotional experience of the people that have been used to one having no boundaries. The experience that they have could also include feelings of being rejected and abandoned.
One doesn’t need to have done either, but when one says no to things they would have said yes to, other people can end up having these feelings and taking everything personally. And the feelings they are having could go back to their childhood and be a sign that they need to emotionally separate from their caregivers.
So when one forms boundaries for the first time there is going to be ones experience and the experience that another person has. However, one is not responsible for how other people feel and having boundaries means that one is not always going to please others.
One reason why forming boundaries can feel so difficult, even though it is healthy and functional, is due to ones history appearing. If one has not emotionally separated from their caregivers, then to separate from others is going trigger trapped feelings form their childhood that relate to their survival.
The assistance of a therapist or a healer may be required in order for one to release these trapped feelings and emotions. And as this take place, one will find it easier to stand their ground when they need to.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.