Last updated on January 26th, 2024 at 10:53 am
You will be abused, manipulated, and coerced into doing things you don’t want in life if you don’t have well-established physical boundaries around you and your space.
The importance of physical restrictions in life cannot be overemphasized.
Most problems and conflicts that arise socially and in relationships are mostly caused by people not having boundaries or people not respecting other people’s boundaries.
Making your boundaries obvious enough and looking out for other people’s boundaries is the key to maintaining a healthy relationship with people and your environment.
We have written a few articles on establishing boundaries and we are dedicating this particular one to physical boundaries.
What are physical boundaries?
Physical boundaries are restrictions you put around your physical self to prevent undue access to your person and space.
It protects your body, and space from being touched unduly and also keeps you from being interrupted while in your privacy for physical needs like eating, resting, bathing, or sleeping.
People who don’t have visible boundaries have people who are always upsetting and interrupting their activities.
Boundaries that are physical are instinctive and can also be found in territorial animals where they mark territories exclusively for themselves and their families.
Importance of physical boundaries
- These boundaries tell others how close they can get to you and what physical touch you are comfortable with, how you want your privacy to be respected and their behaviour in your personal space.
- They help you personalize your needs and how you attend to them.
- It also guides people’s behaviour when in your space without violating your rights and upsetting you.
- Establishing your physical space keeps you organized
- Most physical attacks are usually done close-range. When your physical boundary is clear, it’s hardly trespassed. A trespass might indicate an attack and it keeps you alert and ready either to fight back or take flight.
- It establishes respect when boundaries are made known to partners, friends, and people you relate with.
Examples of physical boundaries you must set in your life
Here are must-have visible boundaries to establish in your life to protect you from conscious and unconscious abuse and manipulation.
1. Boundary against physical attack and abuse
Having your compound fenced, and creating visible boundaries between you and your neighbours gives you protection and limits your neighbour’s activities in their compound.
Also marking your space obviously diminishes the possibility of encroachment by random people. People tend to trespass spaces without boundaries.
Many relationships don’t start so there could be physical abuse. Abuse starts gradually and could culminate in life-threatening situations or even death
Most physically abusive relationships could be avoided early on but most ignore obvious red flags.
Setting it as a boundary with your partner is a very good way to bring it to the consciousness of the relationship.
Though women are more vulnerable to physical abuse, many men have died from physical abuse from their wives and partners.
Physical abuse done once is like to repeat if nothing concrete is done about it.
Sometimes, it’s better to leave the union and retain your life than to perpetually bear physical abuse to keep a union.
Draw your boundary as to what you can take. People who ignore, don’t live to explain.
2. Physical boundaries in the workplace
Also, in your workplace, your desk and computer or your cubicle demarcate you from others, forming a clear boundary that outlines your personal space.
This space holds your personal belongings like computers, chargers, pens, files and other office items you wouldn’t want people to have access to.
3. Boundary on the road
When you drive on a two-way lane boulevard, you maintain your part of the road, especially if there are vehicles coming in the opposite direction.
By law, you are mandated to maintain your lane to avoid collisions or accidents.
4. Having your own privacy
Even if you are married, having your own privacy is essential and would be respected if done in the right way.
When I was growing up, my parents had two rooms for themselves, one for my dad and the other for my mom, both rooms adjoined each other.
This should not be a standard for creating personal boundaries or privacy but it’s a good illustration.
Living together as partners is not a reason to lose oneself and privacy. You could share the same closet or wardrobe with your spouse and still have your boundaries there.
The goal is to have your personal things organized so you will know where what is.
The same is extended to your phone, thoughts, books, jewellery, cosmetics, shoes etc.
This helps keep you in control of your things and any infringement would not be tolerated.
5. Personal space and solitude
Everyone needs their personal time to attend to their needs without interruption. When you have a family, setting family boundaries becomes even more necessary for mutual respect and well-being.
Establishing this physical boundary would allow you to sleep, eat and bath in peace without interruption.
At a time, humans need alone time to reflect on their lives and meditate for clear thinking. It’s a way to relieve stress and refresh the mind.
Asking for space may seem like you are pushing people away, but it should be a routine and have to be discussed earlier on.
This is to remove every suspicion that might arise.
Creating this boundary, though beneficial eludes many people because of lack of time or ignorance and the consequences abounds in society.
6. Possession/property boundaries
Everyone has the right to own properties and financial independence. Some couples have joint accounts, while others are averse to being absolutely independent with their finances.
The key is to know what you want and why you want it and stand firm on it. However, this should be communicated with respect and germane reasons.
Just as you have the right to buy and own things, you don’t have to do it in a way that belittles or puts your partner in an emotional box.
Creating a physical boundary to things you can own is two-way, not allowing your partner to dictate what you own is one, and restricting yourself from buying unnecessary things is another.
How to establish physical boundaries
Establishing this type of boundary begins by identifying where boundaries need to be set.
Some boundaries are established instinctively while others are consciously set because the need arises.
Here are some ways of setting your physical boundaries:
- Let people know where your physical space starts and end. You can do this by using your properties to form a hedge. People instinctively respect objects used as boundaries.
- Be territorial, but do it healthily and reasonably.
- Build a fence around your house.
- At a table, you can use your hands to garner space.
- Do not let people be close to you enough in case of an attack, and be ready.
- Avoid handshakes if you are averse to it, but give hints about it before people bring out their hands for one.
- At home with your partner, have a section of the bathroom, wardrobe, or closet where you have your personal items.
Here is a video context by Monroe Wellness on how to create this boundary:
Physical boundaries are necessary for an organized and happy life. Knowing that you and your properties are secured is a good feeling.
Knowing how to establish these boundaries and keep them is the best thing anyone can do for themselves.
Many people who always quarrel with others don’t respect boundaries or don’t have boundaries people can respect.
Pious Clements is the insightful voice behind "The Conducts of Life" blog, where he writes about life ethics, self-development, life mastery, and the dynamics of people and society.
With a profound understanding of human behaviuor and societal dynamics, Pious offers thought-provoking perspectives on ethical living and personal growth.
Through engaging narratives and astute observations, he inspires readers to navigate life's complexities with wisdom and integrity, encouraging a deeper understanding of the human experience and our place within society.