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Barriers: gates or walls?


Boundaries in Action

If you haven’t already read my blog, “The Down and Dirty about Boundaries” be sure to read it [here] first.

Boundaries have become a hot topic in the last few years, but many of us are still learning what they are and how to even use them. Boundaries are designed to protect our needs and values while ensuring our safety.

When I am going through my day, I am constantly noticing my emotions, asking myself what specifically caused me to feel this way, and what action is trying to be motivated me from that experience. Check out [this] blog for a more detailed walkthrough of my process.

My emotions are my cue to relook at my current boundaries and see what needs my attention and where I need to communicate better or make adjustments to my actions.

I started to treat myself like I would my house. If the person I am interacting with was knocking on my front door, would I let them in, and where would they be allowed to go inside my home?

The living room is my social space, things that I am comfortable sharing with coworkers, acquaintances, neighbors, or anyone else that I am somewhat friendly.

In my office, I would share or invite coworkers and clients, but others are not allowed in the office because I keep confidential files in there and I don’t want anyone going through my work things.

My bedroom is the most intimate area, this is reserved for very few people. Especially without my presence. Even then, going through my drawers and closet would feel like a violation, but I may not mind going through my drawers and closet with them present or watching.

The bathrooms are like intimate spaces, a guest bath being the space I’m okay with others using if I know where they are going and it’s kept presentable. The owner’s bathroom however may not be as tidy and who knows what you will find in there, that’s the deep dark intimate space that typically is reserved for just me in my own quiet alone time.

Do you see where I am going with this?

When I started dating again, I struggled with setting boundaries, trying to find the right amount of myself to give. I caught myself oversharing again and had to stop and map out the dynamics of dating with that of other relationships to help me ensure I kept a good, healthy balance. The picture below shows how I correlated those dynamics with the same levels of intimacy in relationships that I had already been using.

The center of the circle is you. The levels of intimacy are further out the less intimate that relationship is, just like the access to your home. As you sit down to reflect on your boundaries, use the categories of boundaries in the graphic to map out your inner home, and notice who or what relationships have access to you and how much access they get.

Remember that your inner home, just like your physical home, has parts of you all around it. A childhood photo hanging in the living room, and drawings on the fridge. Anything, not there is stored somewhere else, in another room. So while you may allow access to your finances through lending a small amount of money to a friend- that doesn’t mean they have access to your credit cards and accounting statements.

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