It is important to take some time to familiarize yourself with your current boundary setting style. Often, your style will be a combination of what you observed as a child with your caregivers through their modeling, and also some of your own skills you accumulated over the years that help you feel safe and in control.
There are 3 common styles of boundary setting:
RIGID: A style that feels like a wall, serving to keep people out. People with rigid boundaries avoid intimacy or closeness. They are very closed off and lack vulnerability. They fear rejection and aren’t clear on their values or needs, so it’s often just easier to keep others at a distance.
POROUS: A style that is inconsistent and confusing. People with porous boundaries tend to overshare or emotionally dump. They have a hard time setting limits and are easily manipulated into compromising their beliefs to keep others happy. Likewise, they tend to get overly involved with other’s problems, and will accept mistreatment within relationships because they fear abandonment. **Both rigid and porous styles make space for resentments, anxiety and distrust to grow within relationships.
HEALTHY: A style that makes space for change, without compromising your core values. This style allows you to be seen, heard and understood. You are able to ask for help, be vulnerable, yet you maintain a practice of wise discernment about when to share what and with who. You disengage from gossip, chaos or any behavior that does not align with your value system. You communicate kindly and clearly, and refrain from performing, pleasing or pretending to keep others happy. This healthy style allows you to show up as your best self.
For some of you, you may need to be less porous, as you over share too much, too soon. You talk about your own life and the lives of others, without taking into consideration the need for boundaries. For others, you are too rigid, closed off and disconnected. You won’t allow yourself to be vulnerable, and thus you miss out on what it feels like to be deeply connected, seen and accepted. The goal is to find the healthy style, which takes practice.
Remember, boundaries establish trust, safety and mutual respect, and over time- are the key to happiness, confidence and deep rooted (safe) relationships with others.
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