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Home / Advice / Communication Issues / Finding Balance: Exploring Boundaries, Assertiveness, and Self-Esteem

Finding Balance: Exploring Boundaries, Assertiveness, and Self-Esteem

By: Michael Kaski

Updated: 03 May 2024

Finding Balance: Exploring Boundaries, Assertiveness, and Self-Esteem

When considering the exploration of self-esteem, healthy boundaries, and assertiveness, it is important to delve into the essence of boundaries and the experience of maintaining them and having them crossed. How does one discern between what feels right and fulfilling versus what feels wrong and disconcerting? It involves being centred within oneself, present in the moment, and reflecting on emotional responses such as anger and disappointment after social interactions.

Understanding boundaries and wellbeing

Examining these contrasting emotional states offers valuable insights into our well-being in various situations. Developing an awareness of our internal experiences, quieting the mind to connect with our feelings and bodily sensations, and understanding the root of those emotions are essential practices on this journey.

For instance, consider the manifestation of anxiety, racing thoughts, tension, restlessness, arising from an interaction where personal boundaries felt violated. Next time you encounter a experience like this, simply experimenting with sensing an imaginary boundary around yourself and noticing the internal shifts when establishing this boundary may reveal a subtle sense of strength and completeness. 

The power of 'No'

In scenarios where anxiety might arise from a reluctance to assert yourself, the power of an honest 'no' becomes evident, a commitment to self that enhances feelings of safety and peace. If such a sense of inner security feels elusive, envision what it feels like to be truly at home within your own space. The inability to recall the last time one felt most authentic, most like themselves, signals underdeveloped boundaries, either excessively open or closed.

Establishing healthy boundaries

Becoming the captain of our own ships entails navigating boundaries, discerning what to allow in and what to keep out. Imagine facing harsh criticism while maintaining a solid, intact boundary, not absorbing hurtful comments but rather evaluating them from a grounded perspective. This skill fosters the ability to consider external input without being deeply affected by judgments, criticisms, views, or opinions.

Understanding healthy boundaries and repairing ruptured ones is often not ingrained in our upbringing. Some may unconsciously adopt an open-door policy, absorbing external influences without critical evaluation, while others might be overly guarded due to past hurts. The good news is that, regardless of age, one can learn to cultivate healthy boundaries step by step, similar to building muscles or acquiring a new skill.

Self reflection on boundaries

It's crucial to acknowledge that this process is ongoing, requiring dedication and effort. Establishing a routine of self-reflection on boundaries, staying attuned to your felt sense, and checking in with your integrity throughout the day are constructive ways to feel as sense of self and authenticity. Additionally, having an attitude of learning from experience rather than viewing challenges or setbacks as failures is very important. 

investing in your sense of self, boundaries, and self-esteem is paramount for mental wellbeing, which, in turn, influences overall health. Despite the natural inclination to avoid confronting insecurities and difficult emotions, facing these challenges in manageable steps contributes to personal growth. It is a journey that will also evoke discomfort but ultimately leads to increased self-esteem, confidence, and empowerment as you step outside your comfort zone in a deliberate and safe manner.

Overcoming fears and embracing growth

I am always struck by how people enthusiastically invest time and resources in various pursuits, hobbies, possessions, fitness routines, and more, yet overlook fundamental aspects like their self-perception, boundaries, and self-esteem, crucial pillars for mental wellbeing. The reality is, we often resort to extreme measures to sidestep facing our insecurities, fears, sadness, and emotional pain, and understandably so, nobody willingly wants to endure more suffering than necessary.

For our overall wellbeing, we must gradually confront these fears instead of going to great measures in avoiding them. This is often not a comfortable process, although we often feel empowered after confronting our fears in a skilled way. It involves facing discomfort and stepping into the unknown in measured, manageable increments. Persisting with the practice over time, you will consistently discover solid ground on the other side, even when the experience initially might feel like stepping off the edge of a cliff.

In the short term, heightened emotional turbulence and distress are common and expected. Yet, crucially, as we permit ourselves to confront these challenging feelings and sensations, we cultivate a resilient sense of self-esteem, confidence, and empowerment. The growth occurs precisely as we intentionally step beyond our comfort zones in a calculated, secure manner.


Antonia Gianniou Psychotherapist Location: Dublin 1

Approach: Person-Centred Therapy , Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy , Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Works with: Individual Session

Specialities: Anxiety , Depression , Isolation / Loneliness , Personal Development , Relationship issues , Self Care , Self-Esteem , Stress , Work Issues, Work/Life balance

Next avaialble appointment: 12:00 30 May 2024

Mary Gavin Psychotherapist Location: Online

Approach: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) , Mindfulness , Person-Centred Therapy , Psychodynamic Therapy , Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Works with: Individual Session

Specialities: Anger , Anxiety , Bereavement / Loss , Depression , Isolation / Loneliness , Personal Development , Relationship issues , Stress , Suicidal Ideation / Self Harm , Work Issues, Work/Life balance

Next avaialble appointment: 9:00 30 May 2024

Kevin Stevenson Psychotherapist Location: Online

Approach: Gestalt Therapy , Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) , Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy , Mindfulness , Person-Centred Therapy , Solution-Focused Brief Therapy , Other

Works with: Couples , Individual Session

Specialities: Addiction , Anger , Anxiety , Isolation / Loneliness , Obsessive Compulsive Disorder , Personal Development , Personality disorder , Relationship issues , Self Care , Self-Esteem , Stress , Suicidal Ideation / Self Harm , Trauma , Work Issues, Work/Life balance

Next avaialble appointment: 10:00 30 May 2024


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