“You are invading my personal space.” Do you remember saying this as a child? Perhaps, you still say it as an adult. Personal space is often thought of as both a literal and figurative boundary. It is one that we use to shield and protect ourselves from others; some may even refer to it as one’s comfort zone.
Whether it relates to your personal or professional life, having clear boundaries is actually healthy. Dr. Abigail Brenner states that “a healthy relationship requires the space to be yourself, to maintain your personal integrity.
Most people will respect your boundaries when you explain what they are and will expect that you will do the same for them; it’s a two-way street.”
With the proliferation of social media, for many of us, the notion of boundaries has shifted. What may have been deemed as being too much information a decade ago is now considered normal. For years, I worked with people and never met their families. Now, with one click, I can see pictures of their spouses, children, and their last vacation site.
My point is that the distinction between personal and public has shifted and so too has our sense of personal boundaries. As such, for some of us, creating and maintaining healthy boundaries is difficult, but it shouldn’t be. The most important thing to understand about boundaries is that you deserve to have them and to be honest, you don’t have to explain to others why your boundaries are what they are.
The reality is that toxicity—intentional and unintentional—can penetrate any professional or familial space so you want to do as much as you can to protect yourself and sometimes that means disconnecting from people or being explicit about your non-negotiables—what is acceptable? What isn’t in the context of your relationships?
It is when we don’t have healthy boundaries that we often run into problems—a situation may trigger us; a person may anger us or we may find ourselves frustrated or overwhelmed. When you find yourself in situations such as this, pause and ask, “Was this preventable?” or “Were my boundaries clear?”
If you are someone who likes to please others or who puts others before yourself then creating boundaries may be difficult, but remember, your