I wanted to include a quote from someone prolific on boundaries. I looked high and low and I couldn’t find one single inspiring quote about why boundaries are a good thing.
Quite the opposite.
Every quote I stumbled upon was about why boundaries are bad. Every quote discussed pushing past boundaries and breaking them down, doing away with boundaries. Boundaries are evil, I guess.
But I beg to differ.
Boundaries can actually be a good thing. Not only can boundaries be a good thing, but they can be the ultimate expression of self-love.
noun1.a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line. “the eastern boundary of the wilderness”
While a boundary in music or imagination may be be limiting, setting personal boundaries that relate to your everyday life can be liberating. That’s right, the limits that you create can actually provide you more freedom.
Many of us have family members or close friends who superimpose themselves into our lives. Maybe your aunt always drops by without calling and at the worst times and, as if that wasn’t annoying enough, she expects you to sit and have tea with her.
Maybe for the last ten years you’ve allowed this even though some days it has made you feel really crummy and you were miserable the entire time because she kept talking about her cats and you don’t even like cats, even though you really love your aunt and like spending time with her when you’re in the mood to.
It can be hard to stand up to people that we care about and to tell them about our boundaries. We may feel like by not only telling our loved ones about our boundaries and, even more importantly, sticking to them that we’re somehow hurting people but we’re not.
When you clearly put up boundaries and stick to them you’re letting other people know how to treat you. You are letting them know what you will and will not accept. You are living your truth and being your authentic self.
Being who you are is complete freedom.
Not only is being ourselves freedom, but it also means that we limit unnecessary stress and not so warm and fuzzy feelings.
And frankly, if we don’t tell people what our boundaries are they’ll never know. Not everyone is a mind reader and most folks don’t want to step on toes or make other people uncomfortable. They just can’t sense someone else’s boundaries.
The easiest way to clear that up — tell them!
Most people will not take things personally when you draw your line in the sand and let them know what is and what is not okay. Most people appreciate honesty and, frankly, most people aren’t trippin’ off other people that much to even realize when a boundary has been set.
And if someone is trippin’ off a new boundary they’re probably the person(s) that you need to firmly express your boundaries to the most.
It’s easy and quite painless to set up boundaries. The next time your unwelcome aunt just drops by out of the blue with another long-winded tale about her frisky feline and a request for your last cup of chai tell her gently, “I really love hanging out with you and our talks about cats over tea but from now on I really need you to call me in advance to set-up our tea date. What about if we have another tea date in two weeks?”
Whoop, there it is! You just set a boundary!
It’s clear because you’ve expressed what you need. You’ve made a new planned date so your aunt knows that going forward you’re planning your aunty kitty talk time.
If your aunt drops by again unexpected because she’s not used to the new rules, you greet her with a warm smile at the door and let her know that it’s not a good time and remind her again that you need her to call in the future.
I have had a really hard time with this in the past. I always felt immensely guilty for stating my own needs, so I would overextend myself and not make firm boundaries just because I didn’t want to hurt anyone.
Instead, I was hurting myself because I was allowing circumstances and moments in my life that I didn’t fully want.
When I started setting boundaries I realized that it’s really not that big of a deal. In fact, the more one does it the easier it is to do.
Do you have difficulty setting boundaries?