Yοung Professionals and Boundaries

How many times have you been told to be “nice”, “polite” even if the other person next to you is completely crossing your lines? Anna for example always felt proud for being a “nice girl”. As a kid, she was told that being kind to others is a sign of honour, a virtue. Therefore she grew up expecting to get positive feedback by being nice and pleasing to others (very Greek trait, I know – there is actually some flaw in our cultural assumption that nice is good and more nice is better)! It never occurred to her to put her needs first, because her self worth was mostly dependent on the opinion of others.

Bear in mind that being nice does not come out of goodness or high morals. It comes out of a fear of displeasing others and receiving their disapproval.

If you have reached the stage where your co-workers expect you to do the extra work, your family constantly intrudes your personal space and ex-partners keep showing up in your life, despite you wanting to move on with your life, then maybe it’s time to put stronger boundaries!

Boundaries can be defined as the limits we set towards other people, and it’s our way of indicating what we consider to be acceptable and unacceptable behaviour towards us. Being able to know your boundaries presupposes a healthy sense of self worth, or that you already value your own self, regardless of other people’s opinion or emotions towards you.

However knowing your own boundaries and setting them are two separate distinctions; that is why putting your own boundaries can be very challenging. Especially when you are not used to doing so, it can feel very scary, challenging and eventually tempting to fall back into the trap of not setting your own boundaries… Often you might feel that you are mean for wanting to put your own boundaries but that’s far from the truth! Remember the point is not to please others, but to make you feel safe, happy and acknowledged.

How I can be of help

My goal is to make you understand that setting boundaries is a set of skills that can be learned; we can tackle this by talking about relevant examples and brainstorming together about possible different options, whilst at the same time trying to understand how and when this difficulty of yours was created. It goes without saying that a great amount of learning comes from modelling other people’s behaviour, therefore if what you observed and witnessed as part of your immediate environment led to no boundaries, then ultimately you might be feeling at a loss, confused, and disloyal.

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