Knowing “when to” continue or stop is an art in itself. Relationships dive into murky waters when people over-step their boundaries. So what are boundaries and how do we help ourselves stay within the realms of safety.
A good way to begin is to check boundaries physically. Have someone walk towards you and notice how close you will let them come before you feel your space invaded.
Done as a team exercise, this is interesting to see how every person in the team varies. Introverts generally will prefer more space while extroverts who thrive on recharging their batteries with others, will have more acceptance of someone coming closer to them.
This exercise is a great convincer for people to then realise that boundaries also occur not only physically but emotionally too. Self-awareness is fundamental to understanding boundaries.
Boundaries differ from person to person and setting them is a continuous process. As we expand perspectives and new circumstances arise, so do we extend boundaries in our minds.
People who understand healthy boundaries contribute to more fulfilling relationships. They promote emotional wellbeing and others look forward to their company.
I have seen relationships where boundaries are continuously invaded, much to the lack of awareness of one or both individuals. This lack of balance is a major contributor of conflict in the workplace. Personal attacks, name calling and behaviours that belittle others are some examples.
Mutual respect for the other person’s decisions which may differ to yours, is another key to healthy relationships. I have seen teams who are well-oiled, use rather direct language but all members are equally fine, and the team works well together.
If there is a team ethos, it needs to be respected. Birds of a feather flock together. It is common for teams to be similar in culture when they become high performing teams. Underlying this well-oiled machinery, is that boundaries of each team member are similar. They accept and reject in similar ways.
Boundaries extend over time from experience and attending personal growth programs. This is why at our NLP courses, we find that many participants transform phenomenally through the program.
NLP models that help people build rapport and resolve conflict easily are responsible for extending boundaries, so participants are able to accept more physically and emotionally. Belief systems become less rigid as the mind expands into new territory.
Setting boundaries personally and at work are crucial to maintaining healthy relationships and fostering respect. It is a skill that everyone needs, to be successful in life.
Sylvia is a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Trainer. She started her business in Sydney and is now based in Singapore.