Setting Personal Boundaries Part 1

Setting personal boundaries is not the most exciting of things to discuss but is however one of the most important aspects of living.

We often hear in the news how tourists stray away from their originally intended country into another country through a border that is not clearly defined. Usually it gets on the news because they have been arrested and perhaps paraded on TV. Although these cases are often due to strained diplomatic relations between two countries, the lesson can be learnt of how much hassle can be generated from going beyond one’s boundaries. In many of these cases, it takes a lot of pleading by people and negotiating before the captives are released. This shows the lesson of knowing where ones boundaries lie and keeping within those boundaries.

The example above relates to the boundaries of a country. However, people, states and even tribes have their own boundaries. These boundaries are physical lines which demarcate one area from the other. Aside from these physical lines which can be seen clearly on maps, people groups and nations have codes of conduct and ‘ways of life’ or even ‘dos and don’ts which guide them and form their ways of living and how they are known.

Individuals also need to set and maintain their own personal boundaries. This is a task that no one can do for another person, each individual must set their personal boundaries to live a successful life. There is a saying which goes ‘a person without boundaries is like a city without walls’. You can only imagine what would become of a city without walls. It means that every kind of enemy has free rein if they choose to attack such a city. It denotes no covering, no shelter; it is like being left defenceless in the midst of enemies. It is a terribly precarious situation for anyone to find themselves.

Everyone needs boundaries in order to function at an optimal level, the good thing is that these are personal boundaries and no one else needs to be involved. No outside agency or person needs to be involved in the limits you place on your self. But these limits are invaluable in exercising self discipline and keeping oneself in check.

Life as we know it is degenerating with each passing day, and more of the things that were previously unheard of have become acceptable in our world. It appears that boundaries are pushed every so often and some ideas that would have raised eyebrows a few years ago are now seen as okay. These can range from the mundane issues of life to the very serious and often controversial topics.

Individuals can make choices they consider acceptable and what is not acceptable. A person’s life and what they make out of it is simply a matter that is left entirely to them. However, there are gentle voices within each of us that lead and guide us and inform our decisions, some call it ‘conscience’ or ‘inner leading’. What you choose to call the gentle voice is not what matters, it is the job it does that counts.

The boundaries which we set in our lives form invisible guides that help us make the right choices. They also help in identifying the way out when facing dire consequences in cases where we have made the wrong decisions. Whether we use our reasoning abilities for ensuring we made good decisions or for getting out of difficult circumstances, these are limits that must be present in order for us not to go off the rails.

Personal boundaries are a necessity as they help you when no one else is present and there is a temptation to misbehave. Everyone surely has a propensity to misbehave no matter how disciplined they are, it is however the presence of ‘personal boundaries’ that stops you from taking the perfume on your friends dressing table even though no one else is around to see.

When lewd images pop up on your computer screen, when there is an offer of making money from a dirty deal or when you know you can achieve success without working hard, it is the presence of boundaries that determines what you choose regardless of how you feel.

A person who strives to have integrity or who is destined for greatness will need to set out these personal limits which will put them in check when they are on the verge of being derailed.

The truth is that anyone can be derailed, no matter how righteous or pious they may seem or even how many good intentions they have. If you remember the saying ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’, one will quickly realise that more than good intentions is needed to stay on the straight and narrow path.

It was this same straight and narrow path that aided Mr Obama to achieve success in his political career and make history as the first black President of the United States of America. If Mr Obama had even the littlest blemish, it would have become public and his reputation would certainly have been tarnished. Perhaps some people who were willing to vote for him and let go of their prejudices may not have been convinced. His squeaky clean record did him a lot of good in getting him into the white house.

Below are a few points to consider about setting personal boundaries:

· Personal boundaries are like limits you set for yourself which guide you when no one else is present.

· Personal boundaries are like a gate or a fence that partitions one area from another. It makes it almost impossible to stray into an unauthorised zone.

· Personal boundaries will keep you in check when no one else is looking or bothered about what you do.

· Setting these boundaries for yourself will help in climbing the success ladder and positioning you for greatness.

· Mr Obama is an example of a man who no one could smear with any dirt that might have caused him the election. This was likely due to the personal limits he set for himself as a young man.

· You must be convinced enough by your boundaries in order to stay by them.

We all benefit when we do things right!