Alumni discuss holy and healthy boundaries

By Emma Davis
Staff Writer

David Prosen, Franciscan University alumni and counselor at the Baron Counseling Center on campus, talked with students on Sept. 12 about how to maintain holy and healthy boundaries throughout their lives.

Prosen began by defining boundaries as rules that we set for ourselves within relationships that can also be based on our values and beliefs.

According to Prosen, before you can set boundaries you must know what your core values are. Prosen discussed that if you don’t know what matters to you, how can you protect it?

“Our personal boundaries are often based on our own values. Values are the things that are most important to us…we all have our own set [of values],” said Prosen.

The six types of boundaries that Prosen defined include time, physical, intellectual, emotional, sexual and material boundaries. Each of these affect different aspects of our lives and can help students define their personal limits.

Prosen explained that you must communicate and set limits with consequences if people ignore your personal boundaries.

Prosen named the first step as clearly indicating what you need. Then if the boundary is ignored, you must set limits with a consequence that protects you, according to Prosen.

“It’s not selfish to take care of yourself,” Prosen told the students in attendance.

Prosen said that when a person says yes when they really want to say no, they must make sure that they are doing so out of love. In order to understand the motive behind why they are saying yes, Prosen suggested five questions that can help find a person’s motive.

“What is my motive for helping? Will helping actually help or hurt that person? Will helping hurt me or others I love? Are there any other choices? What does God want me to do?” said Prosen.

“Boundaries are helpful for the spiritual life and can be healthy and holy. They are not selfish but actually are an important act of love,” Prosen stated. “I can’t take care of others if I can’t take care of myself.”

For more information and a detailed analysis of boundaries, Prosen recommended the book “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

The Baron Counseling Center will be sponsoring a book study group starting Sept. 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Students who are interested are encouraged to contact Prosen to reserve their spot.

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