In my home state of Texas, there’s an old saying that “good fences make good neighbors.” Boundaries between individuals are like that. Without boundaries, you run the risk of becoming enmeshed with another person. When that happens, you may have difficulty differentiating between your own personal values and those of the other person. You must guard the major components of your being because they are what make you uniquely you. Remember, while we’re all connected, we also have the right to be autonomous beings. In fact, in some religions, it is our duty to find the fullest expression of our individuality. In psychological terms, this is called self-actualization.

Here are some of the things you must create boundaries for:

    1. Your Core Values – These are your fundamental beliefs. Choose your top 1 to 3 from this list or add your own:
      • Dependability
      • Reliability
      • Loyalty
      • Commitment
      • Open-Mindedness
      • Consistency
      • Honesty
      • Efficiency
      • Innovation
      • Creativity
      • Optimism
      • Respect
      • Money
      • Possessions
      • Privacy
      • Information
      • Time
      • Physical Space
      • Energy
    2. Your Thoughts – How you think of things and how you perceive things
    3. Your Feelings
    4. Your Emotions
    5. Your Passions
    6. Your Weaknesses
    7. Your Personal History – Family of origin, your training, your upbringing
    8. Your Strengths
    9. Your Creative Talents
    10. Your Money
    11. Your Time
    12. Your Physical Body – Your body and the space around your body
    13. Your Energy
    14. Your Possessions
    15. Your Information and Privacy

Sometimes we have to say “no” in order to protect the major components of our being. Without an occasional confrontation, our boundaries become eroded. In Texas, that means your neighbor’s livestock will come wandering up to your front porch and eat your flowers. In relationships, it means we lose our sense of self, and at the worst, we become so enmeshed with the other person that we don’t know who we are anymore.