Challenge #5: Learn your Line

Posted on August 17, 2011


Each one of us has (what I like to call) a line. That line is a very valuable thing. It’s the line that divides what we are comfortable with from what we are not comfortable with. That line is the line that tells others where your boundaries are.

A big part of learning your own worth is learning how to honor that line. You need to set up good, strong boundaries with others in order to protect your time, your energy, your resources and yes, of course, your self-respect.

But for those who are new to the art of valuing themselves,  knowing where that line is may be enough of a challenge in and of itself. While people who struggle with self-worth issues definitely need to learn how to set up and maintain healthy boundaries, this may be a bit hard to do if one isn’t sure even where the line is in the first place.

Sometimes, people trying to set up healthy boundaries will often look to see where others’ lines are to help guide them with this process.

“Jane doesn’t let people call her after midnight so I shouldn’t either!” one may reason. Or “He gets highly offended when people don’t call before they stop by his house so that’s a boundary I should set up too,” they figure.

Problem with this is, we each have a certain line based on our personal preferences and life experiences. If you expend a great deal of time and energy setting up a line that doesn’t fit you, it will drain your energy. Alternatively, if you don’t set up your line according to your own values and perceptions (and instead let popular opinion sway you as to what is and what is not acceptable), you will find yourself constantly harboring resentment.

Each one of us has things that are not acceptable to us which others may find perfectly acceptable. And vice-versa.

I know that some people get highly offended when others continually mispronounce their name. People mispronounce my name all of the time and this doesn’t bother me a bit. On the other hand, when people take the liberty of shortening my full name (Gabrielle) to a nickname they’ve decided upon (like Gabbi) without first asking my permission, it aggravates me to no end.

We all have different lines which means that we all may need to set up different boundaries based on what works best for us.

So your next order of business in the Self-Worth Challenge, Challenge #5, is to learn where your Line is and recognize when it’s been crossed.

If you’ve been keeping up with the challenges so far, you’ve already mastered Challenge #3 and have gotten used to checking in with your Body’s Compass. (See here for a refresher). You’ll use your Body Compass to help you figure out where you line is. 

Quite simply, any time someone says or does something that makes you feel uncomfortable, they’ve crossed your line.  

That rude comment that your coworker made at lunch that made you feel a bit uneasy? That was a line-crosser. That favor your best friend asked of you that made you feel awkward? That was another line-crosser. The person who asked you how much you paid for your house while you stammered trying to think of a polite way to respond? Another line-crosser.

They are all over the place. Your job is to notice when they happen.

Don’t fret just yet about how to address situations when you feel your line has been crossed. That’s a bigger challenge for later in the month. Right now, just work on noticing anytime someone says or acts or requests something of you that makes you feel uncomfortable. That’s your body’s wisdom telling you that, most likely, a boundary of yours is being crossed.