Boundaries mean different things to different people and our personal limits and boundaries vary greatly between us. Most of us don’t even realize that we go through our every day lives setting these invisible boundaries between ourselves and the world around us. These may be expressed by our body language, spoken words, or our instincts that tell us to get closer or back away.
Some individuals have very open boundaries, they are freely themselves, and are open and friendly with many people. Some have what we call “a wall up,” where it’s very difficult to let people in and there are many limits and boundaries in place to prevent one from getting too close. Others are somewhere in-between and this is personally where I aspire to be. For most individuals, I am quite difficult to open up, I don’t trust many people easily, so I subconsciously set limits and boundaries between myself and other individuals. There are some people where I feel instantly comfortable with and it’s with them that my wall is lowered and sometimes I end up getting too close emotionally in a short amount of time. I continuously strive and work for a balance.
There are benefits and downsides to having many boundaries, just as there are benefits having minimal boundaries and being a free spirit. The benefits of having many boundaries is that you can guard your mind and heart a little better, you can choose who you feel is worth your energy and who deserves a place in your heart. The downside is that you may be missing out on getting to know others if you are closing them off, we may be missing out on connections and experiences. The benefit of having minimal boundaries is that you truly enjoy life and experience it to the fullest, the negative is that you may get hurt more by putting your mind and heart on the line. Wanting to put up limits and boundaries can and does protect us, but is also hurting and hindering us.
Having boundaries in place is both beneficial and necessary in all relationships including family, friendships, romantic relationships, coworkers, etc. These boundaries help to keep us happy and to feel respected as a human being. It’s up to us to speak our minds and speak up for ourselves if something doesn’t feel right, it’s up to us to communicate our needs to others, there’s no way for them to know otherwise. In return, we also need to pay attention to the needs and wants of others.
Before I end for now, I must touch on the fact that humans have many emotional and physical needs and will often go about meeting them any way they can because for most of us, not having our needs met is very painful. For example, we may grow very close to a stranger because we are in dire need of friendship and don’t want to feel alone, or we may get into a relationship right after a breakup because we no longer have that individual who was fulfilling our needs. The dynamic between people truly fascinates me and is ever-changing.