Ever felt like you don't have a voice in a social or professional setting, or felt overpowered by the behaviour of others (whether a stranger, colleague, friend or family member) and found it challenging to stand up for yourself?
You could be allowing others to invade your personal boundaries - be it by letting them talk to you a certain way or by scooching over too close physically. Here, we sat down with DHA-licensed Clinical Psychologist and trained Cognitive Behavioural Therapist Ira Naeem, who explains the importance of setting boundaries and the relationship between them and self-worth
How would you define boundaries and why is it important to set them?
A boundary is a very fine line - a limit between you and others. You 're telling people if you want them to be in your personal space and what you anticipate once they're there. Setting boundaries (physical, psychological, emotional) are crucial to maintain your individuality and to protect your mental and physical wellbeing.
Why might others, including family members and friends, violate our boundaries?
People closer to us do not violate our boundaries intentionally, rather they do that because of ignorance, lack of critical thinking, or because that’s their go-to strategy to cope up with their own struggles. However, most importantly it is because over the past experiences we have given them the message that it is okay for them to enter our personal space without any limitations.
What is your advice to those who may struggle to be firm and set boundaries?
It is not easy for many of us to set firm boundaries, but it is something we can all learn. The change usually starts from the identification, so identify mindfully what your limitations are and how you’re being impacted if you do not firmly set your boundaries. The next step is to have clear communication in an assertive manner with others and then be consistent with your responses.