You know what it is like. During a meeting, somebody comments about your work and instantly your defence 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 off 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. What kind of personal boundaries do you use to cover yourself up?
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 damaged, are you limiting yourself from reaching your full potential? Personal barriers that protect you from getting hurt may at one point have been useful. However over time, the need to defend yourself may have gone, and they can now be limiting you to achieving a relationship, financial and career success. What can we do to break through those barriers and reach our potential?
Self-defence 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 offence and hurting others before they hurt you. Emotional withdrawal to break the connection. In fact, all strategies have one thing in common: They prevent you from achieving your full potential. And of 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-defence 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, but we also limit ourselves to 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 decent 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-defence mechanism which is merely 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, 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 an 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 about 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? Or is it about 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 with 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 produce the results you expected? Is there another action which can 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 personal boundaries, their thoughts and feelings which are crucial 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.
Take the step to remove your boundaries. Find out how by registering for a FREE Lifestyle and Purpose audit.