Wearing Your Cape: Increasing Confidence and Inner Strength with Healthy Boundaries
Just like superheroes, we also wear capes. While our capes may not be seen, we wear them for the same reason, to protect ourselves. Our capes are represented by our boundaries, and with many different types of boundaries, come a whole wardrobe of capes! Knowing which cape to wear is something all heroes can learn to master.
What are boundaries, you ask? Boundaries are the limits that we set within our relationships that help us to feel respected, heard, and understood. Boundaries are not a “no” but a condition for a “yes.” While sometimes we might not like what is being asked of us, we can still be clear on our preferences and try to meet the person halfway. However, if we are still not comfortable with the request, we do have the right to say “no.”
What is important is that we are asserting our boundaries in appropriate healthy ways that promote satisfaction and ignite our confidence to be our own hero. No one but you can decide, set, or assert your boundaries, and the hope is that when you do so, others will take note and respect them. Of the many different types of boundaries, here we will explore time boundaries, intellectual boundaries, and emotional boundaries.
OUR RED CAPE: Time: When it comes to setting boundaries with our time, we have to be firm. Like a traffic light, red means stop, and in this case, so does our cape. Having healthy time boundaries means that you are aware that setting aside time for yourself and your goals is essential and non-negotiable. We practice healthy boundaries when we are on time, when we are fully present in our relationships (not on the phone or simultaneously doing another task), and when we set aside time for hobbies, self-care, and pleasurable activities. Strong time boundaries are practiced by using a planner, setting timers, letting people know your availability, and respecting the time restrictions of others.
OUR GREEN CAPE: Intellectual: We often associate our intellect to our ability to expand our mind. Like nature, our intellectual cape is green as a reminder of our ability to grow. Having healthy intellectual boundaries means that you respect other people's thoughts, opinions, and ideas. Strong intellectual boundaries are shown when you actively listen to others, when you use ‘I statements’ to express yourself if you believe you are not being heard, when you make use of appropriate discussion, like talking about general topics as opposed to discussing personal matters, and are willing to see another person’s perspective.
OUR BLUE CAPE: Emotional: Like the ocean, our emotions run deep and vast and our blue cape serves as a reminder of our emotional depth. Maintaining strong emotional boundaries means that you do not ignore your feelings or the feelings of others. It also means that you are aware of the appropriate way to express yourself depending on who you are speaking to and the environment that you are in. Strong emotional boundaries are obvious when we validate, encourage, and avoid criticizing others for the way they feel. It is critical that we do not depend on the people closest to us to provide us with free therapy. While we enjoy having close relationships, it is important to remember that unloading too often can hurt rather than help.
Regardless of the type of cape you wear, wear it proudly. Find the one that suits you best. Examine your options. Perhaps your time boundary cape needs to be a little stronger with some people who are not recognizing your time limitations. Or maybe your green cape needs to be a bit more porous to allow more ideas to flow through you. It’s possible that your blue cape needs a bit more length to allow for more emotional input. Just remember that the boundary the cape corresponds with needs to clearly come across to those you are wearing it around. By practicing healthy boundaries we build inner strength, we nourish our needs, and we in turn stand tall as the confident heroes that we are.