Setting Personal Boundaries – Part 2

In Part 1, we considered the issue of personal boundaries and the need for everyone to have them. Personal boundaries are limits, rules, borders, extents, demarcations, perimeters, fences – whatever you want to call them – which no one will set for you or chase you around to enforce. It’s a matter that is entirely in your own hands and which may affect your destiny in the long run.

You need to set boundaries that you will not breach whatever happens; otherwise you will misbehave one day. No matter how pious you think you are, as long as blood and water flow through your veins you have the tendency to get things wrong, if only occasionally.

I have heard it said that every human being has a period of five minutes of madness. Whether this is true or not may be verified by people’s actions from time to time. Often when a person has been caught misbehaving, they plead for forgiveness and blame it on the leading of the devil. The truth is that having a set of personal boundaries could have averted the misdemeanour. A few years ago, I attended a bridal shower at the home of one of the bride’s friends; after the party the unfortunate hostess found that some jewelery had gone missing from her dressing table. Did they grow legs and walked away, your guess is as good as mine. There are examples of people who visit their friends or relatives taking away photographs, money or other personal items without the knowledge of their friends.

It is common to hear cases where one person has taken another persons’ friendship in good faith, only to be disappointed by the bad behaviour of their supposed close friend. On close examination of such matters, it is obvious that it is personal discipline that one of the people involved has not learnt the discipline of setting and maintaining boundaries in their personal life and also in all their relationships.

People usually open their lives and homes to friends or family members that they trust. Allowing a friend into your bedroom is because there is a close relationship between the two parties. In such cases, it can be easily assumed that the close friend knows that the relationship is based on trust and they should count it a privilege that must not be abused.

Boundaries are an absolute must for any relationship to go far. At times, boundaries can occur in the form of unspoken rules between spouses or friends. Other times, it is a set of rules or code of conducts that is clearly spelt out to members of a team or club. Regardless of the way it occurs, clearly defined boundaries help relationships to succeed.

Everyone who wants to become anything significant in life must set boundaries for themselves. It is only the motivation of an internal boundary that restrains you from taking what is not yours from your friends table.

A healthy belief or values system is very necessary in dealing with matters of life. It is necessary to form clear opinions on life issues, particularly in a society where almost anything is acceptable.

The bottom line is that ‘where there is no law, people find it difficult to restrain themselves’. This is even truer for individuals. If you have no set of personal values within which you operate, you will disappoint people and you will disappoint yourself regularly.

Goals can only be ethically achieved by following an inner leading that has been previously set in place. At the point of pressure, the real person is what comes out. Regardless of the type of exterior that people place around themselves, only a person knows his/her own heart and what they are capable of doing. A person who seems altogether perfect in their behaviour and their outward appearance may fail woefully when no one is around or when the die is cast on a particular matter. This failure is often an evidence of a lack of inner discipline or values.

For an individual, having boundaries is a matter of ‘this is how far I will go on this matter,’ or ‘this is a line that I will never cross.’ Period. When a person has pre-decided what he considers an acceptable personal behaviour, i.e. what he expects from himself, and what he must not do under any circumstances, there is a determination to follow the inner voice of the heart. The lure of money, fame, position and luxury goods are easier to overcome when there are set boundaries.

The tendency to misbehave is so strong if there are no predefined personal ‘codes of conduct’. In such instances a person is like a city without walls, susceptible to almost any attack that is launched at him including temptations to lie, cheat, exploit, steal, betray loved ones or have their way whilst destroying other people along the way.

Below are points to consider in setting your own boundaries:

· You need to carefully consider who you are and know what boundaries you have and which ones you need to set.

· You may need to regularly review your belief system and realign your personal boundaries accordingly.

· Do not assume you can get by without any clearly defined boundaries or beliefs; you may be surprised how you react when under pressure. You may dislike what comes out of you.

· Taking something that is not your property without permission from the owner is called stealing. There is no other way to describe it but theft.

· The earlier in life one sets and get used to having boundaries the better it is in maintaining them and having a disciplined life. However, it is never too late to do what is right, so you can still set up personal boundaries today whatever your age or how far you think you have gone.

We all benefit when we do things right!