You hear a lot these days about having boundaries, but what does that really mean? For many people, a boundary is something we might move or adjust to make someone happy, please our partner, or just avoid feeling uncomfortable. If we are continually moving our boundaries, or letting people blow by them, chances are we might find ourselves in a state of internal conflict. If this happens in an intimate relationship, we can find ourselves building resentment, and over time this resentment can build until we can’t hold it in any longer, and something gives. Usually, it’s our temper and we can lose our cool when our fight or flight reflex kicks in.

Being able to maintain solid boundaries is an essential part of being our solid self. If we are unable to establish and maintain boundaries, we are expressing our pseudo self. Solid self and pseudo self are terms that therapists and psychologists use to describe how strong our sense of self is. If your sense of self is strong, your solid self is showing up, if it’s not, hello pseudo self.

When I show up as my pseudo self, especially in relationship interactions, it often feels like I left a piece of myself on the floor. If you do that too often, you can feel empty, ungrounded, and full of holes.

A good first step in having good boundaries and in showing up as your solid self is to have your own list of non-negotiables. You can have non-negotiables for your intimate relationships as well as your day-to-day. Non-negotiables are the things that you are not willing to give up or compromise on. That does not mean you can’t change your list. After all, it’s your list and after some thoughtful consideration it’s perfectly fine to adjust things. The intent is that you don’t change things on the fly by engaging in people pleasing, or out of fear of standing up for yourself. You also don’t have to be aggressive with your list.

If you have met my friend Carence, then you know what can happen and what it feels like when you are so insecure in your relationship that you lose yourself to people pleasing and compromising your values. The crazy thing is that when you are doing it, things feel so right, until they don’t.

Going through life with a solid self is so much better than going through life with your pseudo self and feeling full of holes like a piece of swiss cheese. You can begin your healing journey with one step. Grab a piece a paper and pencil and make your first draft of your list of non-negotiables. If you don’t know how to get started, send me a message from the ANTICS website or message me on the ANTICS Facebook page and I will share Carence’s list of non-negotiables with you.

It’s an easy step, and I am here to help!