Smart Way #24: Don’t let anyone take your stuff – set healthy personal boundaries

When I first started MIOMO, we ran a ten-day camp where students lived-in with a ‘camp parent.’ We had strict rules about girls and guys steering-clear of each other’s rooms. But on the third night of one such course, the house parent phoned to tell me that this rule had been ignored; Jack was in Jenny’s room.

I was there in a flash and sent Jack swiftly back to his own room. I then questioned Jenny on why she had let Jack into her room in the first place. After a long debate, I learnt that Jenny had been raised to believe that she was obliged to give people whatever they asked of her. She didn’t know how to say no and placed little or no value on her belongings, her space or her body.

When people feel like this, they send an unconscious message to those around them that says, “I don’t value myself – come take what you want.”

Not surprisingly, MIOMO changed Jenny’s life radically. She gained self-respect and self-worth and would no longer allow others to define her. This is what we call setting the ‘personal boundaries’ that protect us from being manipulated, used or violated by others.

Learn about your personal boundaries and take control of life by reading Making It On my Own; 52 Smart Ways to Smash It in the Real World. You can also create strong, healthy boundaries at my April MIOMO holiday programme.