Healthy boundaries identify and separate our self from others and they are the foundation of the Blue Zone. Boundaries are the physical and emotional fences that mark off our world, creating zones of safety, authority, privacy, and safe space.
Boundaries satisfy at least four essential needs:
- They define who we are – what we believe, feel, think, and do – where my story ends and yours begins.
- They restrict access and unwanted intrusions.
- They protect priorities.
- They help us distinguish between Red Zone and Blue Zone issues.
If I am having difficulties with boundaries I am more than likely living in the Red Zone.
As I sink deeper into the Red Zone, my boundaries become more and more blurred and I end up engaging others in my personal drama and getting drawn into theirs.
For some people, boundaries become too rigid. Important information gets restricted and important relationships are compromised. I begin to live in a rigid and unbending way. I become a prisoner of my prejudices, refusing to allow others to have points of view which might challenge mine.
For other people, boundaries are too loose – the integrity and cohesion of me as a person is threatened by a lack of definition. I ask, knowingly or not, “Who am I, other than an extension of you?”
If my boundaries are too loose, or porous, it’s going to be pretty clear that I am in the Red Zone. I’m always being influenced by what others think, feel, or say. It seems as if I don’t have a self of my own.
But those with too rigid boundaries can be firmly in the Red Zone as well – if I am there I have just done a better job of creating high walls to keep out external influences because of my own insecurity.
Knowing what sorts of boundaries I have or don’t have is incredibly important in understanding how I can thrive through conflict. But first I have to know myself…
How about you?
Do your boundaries tend to be too rigid or too loose?
Do you tend to keep others and their ideas and influences out for no good reason or do you tend to become what you think those around you want you to be or what you think you need to be to avoid conflict and hurt feelings?