Good Sunday morning, everyone! I recently went to an event where in one of the programs they talked about was the need to have boundaries, whether personal or work. So, for this column I dug into this idea deeper.

What is a boundary, you ask? A boundary is a limit defining you in relationship to someone or to something. Boundaries can be physical and tangible or emotional and intangible. I bet you have used or heard of this before.

If you have ever told someone that, “I draw the line here,” then you have already set a boundary.

If you have informed someone that this is your office, your desk or your chair at work, then you have set physical boundaries. A fence is a great illustration to a boundary, showing the border of your yard to your neighbors.

It is always easier to understand a physical boundary. Emotional or mental boundaries may be a bit harder, however they are equally, if not more, important.

Boundaries serve many functions. They help to protect us, to clarify what is our responsibility and what is another’s, to preserve our physical and emotional energy, to stay focused on ourselves, to live our values and standards and to identify our personal limits.

There are three key feelings that are often red flags or cues that you need to either set a boundary or that you are letting your boundaries slip. These feelings are discomfort, resentment and guilt.

If a particular situation, person, or area of your life is leading you to feel uncomfortable, resentful or guilty, and it has happened several times, this is an important cue to pay attention to.

Boundaries are not optional. They are necessary if you want to focus and achieve your own goals, be able to rest and enjoy life, and reach your standard of success. There are always more opportunities, more obligations, more options and more demands than you can ever handle.

Your time and your resources are limited, so you have to decide how you’re going to allot them. If you don’t set boundaries your resources will simply be spent on the needs that show up first or scream the loudest.

This next week think about what boundaries you have set for yourself now and what boundaries you may need to set, to give you peace in your life, and we will talk more on this subject next week.

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Sherri M. Askren is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 28 W. North St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone: 442-3512

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