It is important to be able to reflect mindfulness in our communication and have the ability to speak to issues of conflict appropriately. This is most beneficial. With these skills then we can incorporate them into every walk of life and discover that relationships at work and at home will become much more pleasant and filled with more respect and therefore will be the target of the Counselor to provide these tools.
Before we can resolve conflicts amicably we first need to be mindful of boundaries. Parents and teachers begin early teaching such to the children. Yet, the reasons as to why is often not conveyed. All human beings need to feel three things: Secure, Safe, and also Accepted-in order to feel validated and counted amongst the population. Often as they experience situations from more of a threatening or neglectful environment then people experience negative emotions of fear and anger, or depression…and in time-will cultivate automatic thoughts that continue driving their negative emotions in similar situations.
So let us consider each construct :
Security: is more relational. Husband and wives; boyfriends and girlfriends, employer and employee, friends, peers, colleagues all have interaction and relations in play. I will focus upon the more intimate of these; the marriage and/or couple relations.
In a perfect and wise world these relationships cultivated during a long stretch of time as each person entered into different levels of deeper experiences beginning with acquaintances and after entering into familiarity, friendly, closely bonded friends, would then choose to enter the most intimate phase; intimacy. Decades ago, this was more practiced. Marriages were longer lasting and other benefits resulted as people grew to know each other at a slower pace; allowing for opportunities to witness each other during times of stress and joy, allowing for time to develop knowledge of the other’s true character, allowing for time to find similar interests and to enjoy the strong attribute of communication.
In considering the most intimate of relationships, I will cover the three basic needs: secure, safe and accepted. Couples need to feel secure in their intimate relationship. Each member of the couple must guard against roaming eyes, offensive or threatening speech, looking at porn, and acting in any way to cause the other to feel insecure, unwanted, or disrespected/unimportant. When a couple feels secure with each other then they do not fear and are not dealing with jealousy. As they are nurturing each other then trust grows which increases their bond.
Safety is often in regards to one’s wellbeing and other physical boundaries (anything tangible that one owns) with the body as their primary physical object of ownership. They have the right (if they are a consensual adults) to decide if others can touch, look upon, and/or otherwise connect with; but, if another violates them, then this subjects the victim to feelings of insecurity, fear, anger, anxiety, shame, guilt, and like negative emotions-causing harm to them.
Acceptance deals with relational issues. In all forums then one needs to feel as if they fit in and am accepted. When they do-then they feel content, secure, and safe and develop a healthier sense of self. However if they are subjected to bullying, mockery, ridicule, neglect, or other negative reaction to their presence-then these individuals will suffer low self esteem, and other like negative emotional pain-which can cultivate into skewed automatic thoughts and lead to mental health and behavioral health problems. These three are involved in the motional boundaries that are to be safeguarded and helped to mature.
These are all components of emotional boundaries, therefore let us look at the three basic boundaries in order to briefly define each so as to see how each interacts within a person and within the community when one communicates.
Emotions are fragile and unseen internally; sometimes hidden from view or knowledge yet can be scarred and life altering when violated. People have a variety of personality traits of their own which lead to more or less ability to factor conflict issues; as some are more sensitive than others.
When words or actions are said or done that hurt, humiliate, shame, manipulate, deceive, or threaten another person-then one has violated the emotional boundaries. One must learn how to speak of concerns or conflicts without attacking another person’s identify or self worth. Sometimes the history of one’s family or their vocation may contribute to one’s perception and how they experience their world.
Anything tangible is a physical issue/item. Our primary physical boundary is our bodies. We are in control as to whom looks upon or touches our body and possessions, therefore if one violates this boundary then one violates the individual. At an early age children are taught to keep their hands to themselves and to ask permission prior to borrowing. Sometimes good touches can become bad touches if they are unwanted. When violated then people can experience anger, fear, anxiety, or other negative emotion, thus also effecting the emotional boundaries. Other tangible items are items one can touch and are items that one believes belong to oneself. Others are to ask to borrow or to use such items and to return them in the same condition that they once were when borrowed or used. Others are to keep their hands away from such items without expressed permission from the owner of those items. Physical boundaries apply in all forums to protect the owner and the items. If physical boundaries are violated then understand that emotional boundaries will be affected.
These occur within whatever social arenas that we find ourselves within. These are the norms/rules that govern and that are expected within each situation: And can differ drastically due to the different forum. Every household has different rules for their homes, and then there are schools, stores, court, gym, forests, water ways, government, and even the road have rules/norms that are expected. When violated then there will be offenses and possible danger that could occur which could lead to emotional and physical violations.
Decades ago-these boundaries were based upon constitutional and Biblical constructs to best protect all people from violations; but, today we find that these boundaries have been so blurred and even violated-that people are told things are right-although these things violate physical and emotional boundaries today. In these instances then a person must consider physical and emotional boundaries to guide their decisions within social forums regardless of how others believe. This is more difficult today in today’s hate driven culture, with all of the deception, and the negativity and harsh judgment.
Social boundaries are largely absent from most social media forums and therefore people are subject to major social and emotional violations that do harm. Social media do not have appropriate filters and are dangerous for society in many aspects.
As an example; Children, adolescents, and adults are glued to their screens, sending texts upon impulse, seeking popularity, or forcing their opinions and sense of fairness across the social media.
Also, they are then influenced to be inappropriate- with highly provocative or offensive gestures and exposures. Children are totally vulnerable, as they view sexual exposure and hate; and are tempted and often they succumb to exposing of selves so as to fit in-or due to the demand and expectations of others (manipulation and stress). Likes are sought at high risk, and dislikes, poking, and hate often are received. Children and adolescents construct of “relationships” are skewed and unstable as they disclose sensitive and personal information at high risk of themselves. -Even when the “friend” is only an acquaintance. Middle aged children and adolescents are deluded to believe that these are true friends or partners and that all who are on these forums are just like them. One day they are accepted and the next day-then trashed. This toxic and unstable forum which breeds unstable emotional, and low self images, and even forms self contempt. This also is driving much hate among others and the inability to accept diversity/differences.
Another issue would be when children are in families (single, blended, military, often relocating, busy, and like) without witnessing appropriate relational and communication or social skills and then are in the social media-which tend to abuse and neglect any and all social graces.
Children are exposed to those who bear false identifications and age, pedophiles, adults, and other millions of users on these forums-excluding healthy outdoor activities, relationships, family gatherings, school, and like from their world as the convenience of social media fills their world. This isolates that child and cannot develop the child’s social skills appropriately. What are these children’s marriages going to be like as they are not learning relational tools?
Screened devices are also creating neural pathways that are now seen to be detrimental for our youth as these are addictive of the brain and cause physical risks to the neck and posture. There are increases of violence, hate, sexting, suicide, and other behavioral incidents that also warrants major attention to how the social media and screened devices are influencing our youth. Children’s education and concept of humanity are often effected. Bonds with family and friends erode. Just as any other additction; chemical changes of the brain occur and thus render the victim craving more and more of the substance (internet and gaming) although it is effecting their health and multiple social forums. With these issues then many social skills such as appropriate communication and the need to apply boundaries are most needful. In addition, strict rules that apply to these screens, the monitoring of those screens, and restriction of those screens to exclude these devices from family gatherings, meals, homework, work, and other forums so that communication can occur.
Social skills start at home. We teach our children to say please and thank you, and how to share. We teach them to not touch items that are not theirs. Parents are also expected to teach them how to resolve conflicts and how to discern with integrity and wisdom-yet instead of teaching they sometimes model poor conflict resolution skills, blame, irresponsibility, unable to be dependable, rash and impulsive decision making, poor financial management, poor self management, and other negative aspects that hurt children, the community, and society as they grow to replicate the same in their generation.
Learning communication tools and cultivating healthy thought processes and behaviors; limiting social media exposure and teaching responsible social media boundaries; and allowing more time to actually know others prior to trusting others are helpful in reducing the stress and the harm for our society. As we learn how to respect and to communicate effectively without violating each other-then we grow in competence and confidence with a healthier array of coping tools to help us navigate this difficult world. We cannot allow the government, schools, and social media to teach these to our children but step up to take charge of modeling each to our children, to our employees, and with our peers.
Agencies such as Heal and Hope Counseling Services teach these constructs and help families and individuals to grow. Busy families and social media are contributing to a more dysfunctional home and community and therefore need those like us to reach out to at times. As we grow in self management and social skills; we will find a positive return on this investment. We will have better relations in each forum, the assertiveness to stand upon matters of principle, and the ability to bond.
Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC
Heal and Hope Counseling Services
1225 Wildwood Ave SE, Suite C
Cleveland, TN 37311