In a previous blog, I wrote about the Drama triangle, and in order to come off the drama triangle (read it here), it helps if we have good solid boundaries. Nevertheless, what are they, and how do they work?
- These are related to the degree to which it is okay for others to approach you physically and also to how comfortable you are or not approaching others and hugging them, for example:
- To the way that others speak to you
- And boundaries relating to your personal space
Many people find it challenging to show another person that it is not okay for them to come into their physical space. Alternatively, telling someone that the way they are talking to them does not feel right or simply walking away from the situation. They do not know how to say No or believe that they have a right to say No. When they think of themselves, they feel confused or do not feel very well defined. Because boundaries can be very subtle and almost exist on an energetic level, the person can feel vulnerable and sensitive to boundary intrusions. Dr Elinor Greenberg, PhD, says boundaries not only keep us safe, but they also keep us happy.
How can we begin to have boundaries ?:
- Know what you like and dislike, what you want and NEED, what you think and feel
- Do not assume that the other person knows what you want, need, feel etc. It is up to you to communicate this to them
However, some people do not know what they need and want or think and feel, but there is HOPE. Learning to establish and exercise our boundaries is essential to our physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing
Eric Berne, the creator of TA, wrote about the essential psychological and biological needs and hungers that help each person grow. These include the need for contact with others and contact in touch, i.e. holding hands, caressing, massaging, and being close with a friend.
The hunger for recognition is the need to acknowledge yourself, be noticed, and have a sense of belonging to others and life. In TA, this qualification or acknowledgement is in the form of strokes. For example, a verbal stroke would be someone paying you a compliment or remembering your name.
The hunger for and need for stimulus to connect to the sensations bring you to your inner self. For example, you are in nature, exercising all your senses, not just your basic five senses but also your intuitive self and body awareness. You listen to your body, sing, garden, and swim in the sea.
The need for structure, time structure like work that comes from your heart, cooking, being part of a community group, time for spirituality, study etc.
The sexual need is not just about sex but passion, creativity, eroticism, desire to connect with the love of life, the sensuality of feeling your soul and your spirit come alive as it moves through creating art or feeling the wind and sun on your skin. You are in your femininity or masculinity without apology.
The hunger for an incident like trying new things such as adventure sports or seeing new places. Suppose you need great experiences that can take your breath away or anything new, perhaps like a completely new look.
Boundaries keep people away from you and let the right people in, and Brene brown explains them beautifully. She says that Empathy/ compassion/vulnerability is not possible without boundaries and that boundaries are the key to self-love. This is very important and something I invite you to reflect upon as you read this. I am guessing if you are reading this, then in some way, your boundaries are feeling important to you
Furthermore, again for those who have no idea what their boundaries are, how do you begin to know them, and how do you begin to know the difference between wanting to set a boundary and not wanting to keep withdrawing from others and life?
Your body is a perfect barometer, and it is a perfect place to start.
Notice your body
Push your arms out in front of you with your full energy
(Notice what this is like – Do you get a sense of your boundary? What do you notice in your belly, your chest? Did it feel lacking in energy, unsure?)