What Are Boundaries (especially for Latinas!)?
Boundaries can be around our needs, desires, and relationships. Our boundaries are our internal markers that let us know what is ok and what feels good. They also match out values and desires, and, on the other hand, what goes against our desires, needs and values.
And, chica, these need to match! Just ‘cause something feels good in
the moment does not necessarily mean it’s in line with your values.
Josefina Lopez (author of Real Women Have Curves) talks about Latinas’
tendency to gossip. That might “feel good” – but if we’re tearing down our hermanas, is this what we really want to do?
Just so we’re clear, our boundaries are not something that should “keep us locked in.” Our boundaries are not about holding us hostage, or keeping us from taking risks.
Our boundaries are like our front door. We can LEAVE any time we want, but no one should come IN without an invitation.
Once you understand the concept of boundaries, you need to see if you can identify where your boundaries are!
Sometimes our own boundaries are so movable, we don’t even identify them to and for ourselves.
And this can be a first step to knowing whether or not we’re really guarding our boundaries and taking care of ourselves.
What do I mean by “guarding boundaries”?
For example, are you someone who needs a lot of sleep? Do you make sure you get to bed at a certain time each night? Or are you able to sleep in if you stay up late?
Or, on the other hand, if you aren’t able to get enough sleep do you just shrug your shoulders and drink an extra cup (or six) of coffee, suffer a headache, and keep moving?
Guarding boundaries in this case would be doing what you need to do to make sure you are getting your true biological needs met. You need to take care of you so you don't get sick, get a disease or worse!
However, the real trick with boundaries is in relationship to others. And for Latinas, this is a special challenge, particularly with family and loved ones.
Because our family is usually so close to us, and because we want to please them, help them and protect them, we often undertake actions that might not be the best for us.
So, how do we choose which boundaries are set in stone, and which ones are a bit more flexible?
You probably have the experience of having someone close to you, such as your parents, ask – or require! – you to do something. This “request” might be something like picking up a prescription at the drug store, or paying your sister’s car payment, or even not going away to college because that’s too far away.
It’s up to YOU to decide which of these feel ok to you, and which ones don’t. Sometimes we can figure out how to accommodate requests while still being true to ourselves, and sometimes in ORDER to be true to ourselves, we have to go against the desires of others.
This happens over and over again in our daily lives and it’s a different phenomenon for us as Latinas than it is for other cultures. It’s not a simple matter of living your life and everyone else’s desires and input are for the birds.
It’s a balance. How do YOU find this balance?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aurelia Flores wants to offer a learning opportunity to other women who might find themselves in similar shoes. She strongly believes women can learn from other women, no matter where they are in their career or life path. Powerful-Latinas mission is “helping powerful Latina women stay grounded in their power!” To find out more, go to http://www.powerfullatinas.com/