Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Foundation of Personal Boundaries - Feelings, Thoughts, Attitude, Behavior, Environment

What forms the foundation of your boundaries?

Feelings -- You must be aware of your feelings to master them. Feelings must be acknowledged and then let go. Think of yourself as a net through which appropriate negative feelings pass through. The net catches the good feelings. Feelings come from the heart and can guide you as to the state of your relationships. Heed them. Listen to them and channel them appropriately. Feelings are YOUR responsibility. No one else. Feelings cannot be wrong. They simply are. Frequently, feelings go hand in hand with thoughts…

Thoughts -- Thoughts are founded on attitudes and beliefs. Attitudes are your stance towards particular issues. Beliefs are anything you consider to be true. At some point in your life, you must question every one of your attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs because we are all plagued by Gremlin thinking. And many of these Gremlins began at a very young age for us. As we learn many of our attitudes in early life, we must question their basis and their truth. People with boundary problems often have distorted thoughts about who is responsible for what. Distorted thoughts must be recognized and improved. We must OWN our thoughts. They are ours. We are the only ones who can change them. Master your thoughts and feelings and you master life.
Values. Values support your boundaries but only when you are clear what your personal values are. Values are what you live for and are willing to die for. For ex., my top values are God, family, hard work for appropriate compensation, lifelong learning and serving others. When I come into conflict over what I should be doing or how to prioritize engagements and tasks, I refer back to my values to guide my decisions.

Behaviors – Your behaviors have consequences. For example, irresponsibility or laziness can lead to poverty and failure. Be aware of the consequences of the behaviors of yourself and those around you. Stop spending time with those individuals who encourage your bad habits. Start spending more time with those who encourage your positive behaviors.

Attitude -- Research has shown that having an optimistic outlook is beneficial on a number of levels – stronger immune system, longer lifespan, better quality of life. You can’t control WHAT happens, but you CAN control how you interpret what happens. The KEY is to learn to see a situation for what it is and not give it more power than it should have. The best was to do this is to step back, look at situation and ask yourself, “Will this matter a year from now?” If No, you know not to give it much weight. If yes, look for constructive solution. Once you learn to have a more optimistic attitude, all of your boundaries will shift slightly. Less will bother you. And as you grow in your emotional balance, your even-mindedness, you will be able to assert yourself and define your boundaries more clearly and more consistently.

Environment -- CHOOSE YOUR ENVIRONMENT CAREFULLY. For example, alcoholics need to avoid bars. Bars are a trigger for them which renew their cycle of craving. Don’t put yourself in a position where you are tempted to do that which you know is wrong. In addition to the right surroundings, you need the right people around you in the right surroundings. It is essential to have supportive people around you to help pick you up when you fall. Steer your mind and your body away from those people and situations which are likely to tempt you into destructive behaviors.

When you fall down, remember to always keep trying. Never, never, never give up.

Awhile back, I had gotten into a bad habit of saving my wife, Kristin, from my boy’s disrespectful talk. I would step in and get stern with them when they were disrespectful to their mother. Yet, that behavior on my part doesn’t help my wife to gain their respect. She has to do that herself.

So first I had to realize that I was “saving” her. Then, I had to talk with my wife to address the situation. Next, I had to stop myself from saving her by stepping in. So I had to control my impulse to act in the moment. And she had to learn to enforce her own boundaries which are different from mine. Whereas she used to allow the boys go a little further than I would have, she now makes them tow a respectable line. It takes some time, but it’s worth it. I had to get comfortable with that.

Exercises To Help Build Appropriate Boundaries:

1) Practice saying “No” in a caring yet firm manner twice a day.
2) Take one risk per day.
3) Look honestly at what it is you are tolerating in your life.
4) Chart the number of times you feel afraid or anxious each day.

Remember, a loving, caring person DOES enforce their boundaries. It is one of the best ways that you can show your love for your famil and friends.

All my love,

Dr. John
Guide To Self(C) 2005.


Post a Comment

<< Home