Do you know where your personal boundaries begin and end? Sure, you may be clear about physical boundaries, but what about your emotional and spiritual boundaries? Are you aware of what they are and when they are being respected or violated?
I’ve come up with a tool for those of us who don’t really know what our personal boundaries look like. Our boundaries are most likely going to be based in our core values, the beliefs and qualities we live by and cherish.
First: What are your core values? Write in your journal the five to ten beliefs, relationships, activities, or personal qualities that you value the most, that are absolutely necessary for you to live a fulfilled life. Write them in a column at the left margin of your paper.
Second: Describe how it feels for each of these values when it is being respected and affirmed by you and others. Just to the right of each value, assign a score for them, on a scale of 0-9, with “0” being the most negative feeling possible and “10” being the most positive feeling possible and “5” as neutral: “When <value x> is being respected I feel (0-10).”
Third: Now describe how it feels for each of these values when they are violated or disrespected. To the right of the first number assign a score for each, on a scale of 0-10, with “0” being the most negative feeling possible and “10” being the most positive feeling possible and “5”as neutral: “When <value x> is being disrespected I feel (0-10).”
Fourth: Subtract the score you got for each value when it was respected and affirmed, from the score you got for each value when it was violated or disrespected and write the result in a fourth column. Each value will have a possible score of 0-10. The highest scored values indicate the core values that touch on your most important boundaries. These are the boundaries you wish to uphold. They will cause you to feel the most hurt when violated. Knowing about them will help you speak up in your own defense. The lowest scored values are neutral or not as central to your life and personal boundaries.
– What does this exercise say about the values that are most vulnerable in your life?
– What will you do to protect them?
– Which of your values are being respected?
– How do you celebrate this?
If you found this tool helpful and want to work more on establishing and strengthening your personal boundaries you might want a complimentary coaching session to find out more about what you can do, how my coaching works, and whether or not we are a good fit to work together. Contact Michael today!
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Text and artwork copyrighted by Michael Parise