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June 12, 2017 - - 0 Comments

It’s not selfish to want for ourselves. We often grow believing about how ideal it is to be completely selfless and how we should feel awful when we actually want something for ourselves but that simply isn’t the case. To establish ourselves when dealing with the difference between being compassionate and co-dependent, not only do we need self awareness but we also need the ability to set healthy boundaries. We have to be able to speak to our family, our friend, peers, and acquaintances with an understanding of our self worth, dignity, and self-preservation.

How do we do communicate with others though? We’re often afraid of hurting someone’s feelings we it comes to valuing ours. This is where awareness comes into play. Our awareness should already give us an idea of who we are or want to be. Our conscience continually speaks to us about what it is right and wrong in our life. We can choose to listen to these signs or simply ignore them. If we choose to do the former, then we are on our way to establishing healthy boundaries for those around us.

Along with the fear of hurting other people’s feelings though comes the territory of having to see yourself free from the influence and association with certain people in our lives. As we set boundaries and go on our merry way towards awareness and self actualization, people will come and go. We can allow our attachments to either nurture us or hold us back. Normally, it’s an instinctual feeling that accompanies self growth. This fear of loneliness when we decide to cut certain people out of our lives is temporary though as our energy, our personality, our evolution will attract like-minded individuals.

But how exactly do we exact boundaries on peers? The art of conversation would suggest we simply tell them how we feel and how much distance we want from them. This though, is easier said than done. One formula that has proven successful is affirmation, reality, and expectations. To put this into practice, when you attempt to set a boundary with someone, you share your affirmations, your gratitude for this person’s value in your life. You show them your appreciation for their contribution to your whole self. You then discuss your reality with it, be it in the form of their lack of respect or appreciation of you. You discuss how much hurt you may be feeling from your perception of their actions towards you. Finally, you set your expectations of them. You establish how you would like the relationship to evolve. We can never expect others to see our point of view but we can hope that they would respect our wishes.

To speak up for ourselves is regaining or building a positive sense of self and awareness. In this experience, we are both able to stand up for true selves while seeing who is it that chooses to respect our wishes or is unwilling to see from their own perspective. Setting a boundary isn’t always a means to cut individuals out of your lives but a way to see who understands and respects your path. If the feeling is mutual, then you and this individual can continue to grow together or go your separate ways. Life is a journey in itself and we are always going to meet fascinating characters that contribute to our lives however we choose to let them.

John Pascua, ASW

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