Values = Boundaries. What Are You Worth?
Updated: 23 hours ago
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” – Brene Brown
After my marriage breakdown, I began to explore, for the first time ever, what my values are, and from this I began to establish strong boundaries. Something that had been missing from my repertoire of necessary life skills for my entire existence. There are responsibilities that go with love and because I had no sense of my values, there were never any consequences for when others went outside my boundaries. Values nil. Boundaries nil. Because I didn't know what my values were, I was easily manipulated by those around me - not only in my love relationships, but in my relationships with everyone around me.
Values influence your decisions, actions, and behaviour. When I was miserable, I blamed others, but in truth, I was miserable because I was unaware that the life I was living was determined by someone else's values, not my own. Here, I've offered a few basic exercises for you to begin to discover what important to you.
The Importance of Boundaries
Setting clear personal boundaries was the key to ensuring all my relationships are mutually respectful, supportive and caring. Knowing my values and setting boundaries has allowed me to set limits of acceptable behavior from those around me. My children, my family, my friends.
Boundaries filter out what is acceptable and what is not. I had relatively poor boundaries. No…. that’s a lie right there. I had no boundaries. Taking on my partners problems and making them my own to made me an easy target to be manipulated, controlled, and used. That’s what happens when you have no boundaries. The reason I ignored my boundaries is multifaceted, but essentially it was related to my belief about being accommodating, my inability to say no, and my need to be liked. The co-dependent love addict.
Clearly, setting healthy boundaries requires you to know what your values are.
Values have been described as your guide, your compass, your true essence, your uniqueness, what you stand for, what matters to you, what’s important to you. You already own a set, but the ones you’re living may not be exactly guiding, helping, and directing you effectively in your life, they could be doing the exact opposite. Without taking the time to clarify your own you can own a mishmash of values, and dearly held beliefs, principles and guidelines handed down and along to you by others.
The Importance of Values
While boundaries filter out what’s acceptable to you, determining what’s acceptable will be guided by the values you hold. If you’re discontent with your life, it may be that the way you are living, or the people you are associating with, is not in alignment with your values. For instance, if you value family time but work 70 hours a week, there’s going to be internal conflict. Your values will likely also change over time as you mature, learn and grow, so a feeling of discontent may be indicative of the need for a reassessment of your values. You may also need to ask yourself if the values you hold are truly yours, or are they the values of your parents, which no longer hold relevance for you?
Life simply flows more smoothly when you’re aligned with your true values. Knowing what your values are helps you to make choices which are in in tune with your hearts desire, with your ‘self’. What is ‘self’? A wise woman once defined Self as the voice that is listening. It’s an apt description and makes you stop and think before acting in every instance. Values are a bit like a monitor to your own behaviour....
Your values may be based on something you are lacking - if you value freedom, you can't obtain it while you are being controlling!
Are you making value choices and setting boundaries based on high self-worth? Or are you being ruled by the voice of self-doubt, where fear and old programming are still running your life?
Exercise Determining Your Values
I’ve included an extensive list of words below to help you think about what your values might be. Go through the list and select all the words that you believe are important to you. Keep in mind, that values will have different meanings dependant on the context. For instance, if I value Freedom, in the workplace this may mean I like the freedom to work autonomously. In my relationships, freedom may be about having a partner who allows me to pursue my hobbies without restriction.
Further, your values are not set. As you grow, your values will grow with you. This is especially true when moving from childhood to adulthood, where the values instilled in you by your culture or parental influences may no longer suit you as an adult.
When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier. Our values are the sum of our value.
In light of this, the next important step is to look at each of your values to determine if they are out-dated or being driven by someone else.
Take it further by thinking about these and ask yourself, are they yours or somebody else’s desires for you.
Your goals and the current path you’re on Your beliefs and opinions Your idea of success Your fears and dreams
Knowing your values then setting your boundaries will help you to establish what your needs are. If you don’t know what your needs are, how can you ever feel like they’re being met? How can you draw to yourself relationships, friendships, work situations, that are fulfilling? Anytime you are faced with dissatisfaction, you can look at the values you have set, and there is a good chance that your environment is violating one of boundaries. You can’t just set a boundary and recognise when its being violated. Take action! Boundaries are about self-respect and if someone is violating your boundary it’s a deal breaker.
It is ACTION that leads to healing.
From my experience as a counsellor I meet mostly people who want a quick fix. You need to know from the outset that all of these processes take time. It’s important that you make you a priority in your life. Love and honour yourself by giving your healing the time and attention it needs.