Do you let other people run over you? Maybe it is not that extreme, but you end up doing things and feel resentful later. Or perhaps, you have shut down and have decided you will not let anyone ever take advantage of you. These are all examples of struggles with boundaries.
Boundaries are easy to spot in the physical world: people put up fences, close the door, pull down the shades, and define their own spaces.
Setting boundaries with people can be a tough lesson, especially if the following questions are running in the background:
- Can I set limits and still be a nice person?
- What if my limits make it hard on someone else?
- Is it selfish to set limits?
- If I am supposed to set limits, why do I feel so guilty?
It is harder to set intangible emotional boundaries. Many of my clients who strive to be a “Servant Leader,” find boundaries difficult to set because of assumptions about what this type of leadership really means.
Setting boundaries is critical to be effective. Take the Quiz to evaluate your boundary setting. Once you submit your answer you will receive suggestions based on your score.
Below the quiz is an explanation of the questions, don’t peek until you have answered all the questions!
Take the Quiz!
Answer each question using the 1 to 10 scale. 1 indicates the statement is not true for you and 10 means it is consistently true. Answer based on where you are at this time.
The higher the score, the more difficulty you have in setting boundaries.
Question 1 speaks to the intrusion of other people’s beliefs, thoughts, and feelings into their own and the difficulty in knowing what they really prefer.
Question 2 is about feeling bad about who you are, worried others can see right through you. When you have healthy boundaries and feel good about yourself, you can look people in the eye and not worry about getting lost or being seen for who you are. See the chapter on the Imposter Syndrome.
Questions 3 and 4 are about other people taking up so much space in your own emotional space, there is no room for your own needs. You now find your sense of accomplishment through caretaking others.
Question 5 speaks to the loss of boundaries in defining who you are. When one becomes enmeshed with others, your own uniqueness can feel wrong or bad.
Question 6 speaks to being out of touch with yourself and your inner-life. When you are spending your time and energy looking outside of yourself, it is the equivalent of rejecting yourself. When you do finally spend time alone, you may be overwhelmed with critical self-talk and emotions.
Question 7 relates to an all-or-nothing approach to communicating what is going on. You may have had early messaging about not telling anyone anything about what you feel and experienced toxic secrets in your life, so telling everything is your way to balance.
Would you like to have resources available to learn to set better boundaries like being more assertive or confident? Check out the Work Smart Club, our online center for Work and Well-Being, where we have resources available 24/7 to help you with all things leadership!