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The Quest for Civility: A Journey Through the World of Etiquette - Part 3: B is for Boundaries.

Updated: Feb 23

Like many others, I have struggled with boundaries. Boundaries are limits and guidelines that we set for ourselves and others to protect our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. In the past, I opted to believe that people who set boundaries were either insecure or unforthcoming.

Close friends embracing
B is for Boundaries

I would interpret that boundary-setting people lacked compassion, they were mean-spirited, and unsympathetic. Honestly, what's the big secret? What was so extreme that if found out one would crumble or be destroyed? Prior to coming to Christ, I had that credence, and it only became stronger after coming to Christ. I imagined people that had fragile or little boundaries as loving, reachable, pleasant and more worthy of my time and talents. I pride myself on being transparent and an open book. Later in life, I found that honesty is indeed the best policy, and that the truth does set one free. Why did I need to set or respect boundaries?

As I reflect on my journey, I realize that boundaries are essential for maintaining healthy relationships and self-care. While transparency is valuable, it doesn't mean sharing every detail of our lives without discretion. Boundaries allow us to protect our emotional well-being, maintain privacy, and foster trust. Setting boundaries help us define who we are, what we are comfortable with, and what we are not. Healthy boundaries are essential for maintaining healthy relationships, fostering self-respect, and preventing burnout. After years of being someone that "kept it real" and had nothing to hide I had a dose of reality. "Boundaries protect you from the indiscretions, weaknesses, ignorance and wickedness of others."

I'll give you a scenario: A close friend participates in activity that is unbecoming, however, you love them. They have been your "ride or die" for years. They have many other great qualities, a savant if you will, but in that one area they lack maturity and growth. Thus, like most bad behavior, that activity spills over into other areas of their life. Eventually, it will hinder your relationship with them and/or their relationship with others.

Old Friends Embracing

Most people that have mastered the ability to set boundaries lack the superlative concept of acceptance, therefore, they run for the hills from people like that. However, we encourage set boundaries that aid us in creating and maintaining healthy relationships with all others. Here are some reasons why healthy boundaries are important:

1. Self-Care and Well-Being: Boundaries allow us to prioritize our needs and well-being. By setting boundaries, we create space for self-care, relaxation, and personal growth.

2. Respect: Boundaries communicate to others how we want to be treated and respected. When we set boundaries, we are valuing ourselves and showing others what is acceptable behavior.

3. Emotional Regulation: Healthy boundaries help us regulate our emotions and prevent emotional exhaustion. By setting limits on what we take on emotionally, we protect ourselves from feeling overwhelmed.

4. Healthy Relationships: Boundaries create a foundation for healthy and balanced relationships. They prevent resentment, enable open and honest communication, and promote mutual respect.

5. Avoid Manipulation and Control: Clear boundaries help prevent ourselves and others from manipulation and control. When we know our limits and communicate them effectively, we are less likely to be taken advantage of. (this one is huge)

Male friends embracing

Referring back to that friend with great qualities but lacks growth in one area; instead of ridding them from your life, why not set firm boundaries towards that one area where they fall short in maturity, in order to remain in a healthy relationship with you. For example, if they are horrible with money, don't lend them money or don't lend them more than you are able to sacrifice. But under no circumstance should you stop attending the family barbeques or aiding them in their time of emotional need.

How to set boundaries:

1. Self-Awareness: Understand your needs, values, and limits. Reflect on what is important to you and what behaviors you are comfortable with.

2. Communication: Clearly communicate your boundaries to others. Be assertive and direct, but also respectful. Use "I" statements to express your needs and feelings.

3. Consistency: Be consistent in enforcing your boundaries. Don't make exceptions or give in to pressure easily. Consistency builds trust and respect.

4. Say No Without Guilt: It's okay to say no when something doesn't align with your boundaries. Don't feel guilty about prioritizing your well-being.

5. Be Patient: Setting boundaries is an ongoing process. It takes time for others to adjust and respect your new limits. Be patient, polite and persistent.

B is for Balance

Children Embracing

Though it is never too late to learn good etiquette in boundaries, I encourage parents to start instilling these qualities early in the lives of their children so that they may grow up to be respectable adults with healthy relationships. Again, boundaries are essential for maintaining healthy relationships and personal well-being. By setting boundaries, we can create a positive and respectful environment, foster self-care, and protect ourselves from emotional and psychological harm. Remember, boundaries are not selfish; they are necessary for a balanced and fulfilling life. Setting boundaries doesn't mean we're dishonest or closed off—it means we're intentional about what we share and with whom. It's about finding a balance between openness and self-preservation. By respecting boundaries, we honor our own needs and those of others.

So, why is it significant to set and/or respect boundaries? Because they create a safe space where honesty can thrive without compromising our mental and emotional health. We at Keyola Consultants aid people in living the life in the look they love. Book your consultation with one of our image consultants today and receive 1:1 counseling on how to implement best etiquette rules and practices.


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