October 2021

The topic of this month is boundaries. Boundaries are important in every type of relationship ,as they help us protect ourselves. 

When we trust someone, feel emotionally close to them, we let them more in and others we keep at a distance. The distance or how much one is allowed within your emotional or physical space differs per person, context or relationship. Without knowing who we are, what we feel ,want and what we believe, it is hard to set boundaries for others. Increasing self- reflection and self -awareness is thus a  necessary step for  being able to set healthy boundaries.

First you need to be able to recognize and acknowledge your own feelings during interactions. For example, do the comments of this person make me feel angry? Pausing and reflecting not on what the other thinks and wants from you, but what you feel at that moment is an important first step. Recognize the emotion, its intensity, impact on your body, thoughts, nonverbal behaviour etc.

Then, reflect on the trigger. What exactly made me feel this way? Is it a returning annoying behaviour? Do I think the question is too personal? Does it contradict with my norms and values?

Finding the trigger will help you define the boundary for yourself that was crossed and thus has triggered your negative emotions. Once you know what it is exactly that made you  feel angry, overwhelmed, stressed etc,  you need to decide what it is that you need to say to this person. What is that boundary that should not be crossed for you. This is the next step.

For now, stand still at every occasion in which an interaction makes you feel negative emotions, reflect, write it down if you wish and try to define for yourself what that boundary was that made you feel this way.

Exercise of the Month