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The Coaching Guide to Healthy Personal Boundaries

Have you ever had to deal with someone difficult; no matter what you do their behaviour leaves you feeling puzzled and disrespected. A lack of boundaries lead to unhealthy feelings of hopelessness, stress and co-dependency, in other words one sided relationships that greatly reduce your self-esteem. Sometimes it can be overwhelming when people don't treat you right and these type of people seem to have a nack for finding the ones who are empathic, sensitive and kind.

Sometimes you just have to realise that their problem isn't yours to fix and when you do this it can be incredibly freeing because you no longer have to take their problems personally. What others say, do and think is only as good as their perception of things and that's something we have no control over in others.We can only work on ourselves to ensure we are the best people we can possibly be and when we let go of needing to improve and change others it gives us more energy to work on the most important person, ourself. We no longer feel compelled to react and take others lack of boundaries on board and we have more emotional energy and clarity on what we actually care about. Boundaries give us the space to grow and be vulnerable.

A great way to begin to set boundaries in coaching is we ask the question what do I want and need right now? Do you need to see someone less right now, or perhaps you have to ensure you walk away from disrespectful relationships or it may be it's taking some time to see a support person to help you through a difficulty. Design your boundaries using your coaching journal and look at the different areas of life where you can have boundaries like personal space, sexuality, emotions and thoughts, time and energy, possessions, culture and ethics. Don't let anyone else decide your boundaries rather make it something you feel and think into until you find the right edge and practice it. Sometimes it's good to have flexible boundaries so you can allow room from growth and change. I like to think boundaries as gates that can be opened gently, closed and adjusted.

Here are some other boundary setting coaching tips:

• Learn to say no

• Identify when people cross the line

• Stop over committing

• Let go of toxic relationships

• Practice self love and kindness

• Seek professional help from a coach or counsellor

• Explore your needs

• Understand your thoughts and feelings are as important as others

• Know it's your right to have boundaries

• Be assertive

A great was to engage in setting boundaries is through being assertive. Assertiveness is not an easy skill to master but with some practice the discomfort of being assertive begins to reduce and a new confidence emerges. The key is finding the right balance in being assertive, it's about asserting your wants and needs while recognising the wants and needs of others. Assertion requires fairness, firmness and empathy. Asserting your boundaries with people who struggle to know boundaries can sometimes feel scary but I recommend you pause, take a breath and chose your opportunities to put this into practice gauging how resourced you are at the time. If it feels like fighting back then you need to step back, get calm and clear and when the timing is right continue to communicate from a place of personal integrity and authenticity.

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