You know what it is like. During a meeting somebody makes a comment about your work and instantly your defense systems come up. You cross your arms and in a passive aggressive tone you say something like “You are wrong”. Or you partner is challenging you and you cut them of with a “Whatever”, and you walk away. If you have never portrayed this behaviour I would love to hear from you in the comments. But if you are honest with yourself you have to recognise this happens to you too. It is uncomfortable when somebody pushes you too far. And we protect ourselves. However what triggers you is different for everybody. So what kind of personal boundaries do you protect yourself with?
There are two types of personal boundaries that we are drawing our attention to:
- Essential boundaries to give yourself space (e.g. boundaries in relationships and with children)
- Boundaries that protect you from getting hurt
The question we are asking you is; If your boundaries are protecting you from getting hurt, are you limiting yourself from reaching your full potential? Personal boundaries that protect you from getting hurt, may at one point have been useful. However over time, the need to protect yourself may have gone and they can now be limiting you in achieving relationship, financial and career success. What can we do to break through those barriers and reach our potential?
Self defense mechanisms and Personal Boundaries
Many of us build a nice big wall around ourselves to stop us from getting hurt. How you deploy that wall is different for everybody. Let’s talk about some behavioural patterns that I am sure you are familiar with. The cone of silence (not speaking to others). Ignoring signs of love and affection. Going on the offense and hurting others before they hurt your. Emotional withdrawal to break the connection. In fact, all strategies have one thing in common: They prevent you from achieving your full potential. And off course, the irony is, that you’re the only person getting hurt. Not to mention that the only person responsible, is you.
Another brick in the wall
Self defense mechanisms are like a wall that you have carefully constructed over many many years. Bricks get added every time you get hurt, disappointed or betrayed. The bricks get added because many of us don’t learn the tools that allow us to deal with hurt, betrayal and rejection. Many of us don’t learn the tools to love ourselves and to appreciate ourselves for who we are. Not only do we build walls, we limit ourselves in achieving our full potential. We prevent ourselves from being who we are meant to be.
If nobody has ever told you that you are a good person, that they love you for who you are, the chances are big that you don’t think of yourself in those terms, making it difficult for you to accept that from another. Putting up a personal boundary is a self defense mechanism which is simply another brick in the wall.
What do you do if you notice that those personal barriers are limiting you? How do you start to change them? The answer is to grow, and become the person you are meant to be. In other words, in order for you to reach your potential, you need to let go of your limiting beliefs and push your boundaries. It’s time to make changes.
Start making changes by following these six steps:
Step 1 is Awareness. Conscious Incompetence. It is also about acknowledging, it is you, who has to change and not the world around you. It is also having the awareness of your boundaries and how they impact everything in your life, from relationships to finances to career.
Step 2 is taking Responsibility. Once you take all those people and situations away it leaves one person- and that is you. Only you can change yourself and you can’t change others. Start by changing your self.
Step 3 is “Massive Action”. Set some measurable goals that show you that you care for yourself and that you trust yourself. And start to take notice when your thoughts are changing.
Step 4 is about learning about the Values you want to change. Is it about relationships? Learning a new skill? Start to read and absorb what it is that you want to learn.
Step 5 is changing your Environment. Surround yourself by the people who reflect the values that you want to adopt. Observe and learn from those people.
Step 6 is moving towards Success. If you are not achieving your goals sit back and reflect on the action you have taken. Did it achieve the results you expected? Is there other action which is able to get you closer. In short you take action, reflect, adjust and repeat this process until you reach success.
Off course you can take on these steps alone. However, the challenge for many people is that it is difficult to recognise their thoughts and feelings which are key to behavioural change. For others it is difficult to push beyond their comfort zone. Find a coach who will make it easier for you to break these barriers ensuring that those walls get broken down for increased success.