It is creating a line that marks the limits of an area, a dividing line. Many areas in life need boundaries. However, setting them can be a complicated process.
Depending on your personality, setting boundaries may make you feel fabulous and empowered, or it may make you feel like you are hurting the people around you. In actuality, you are creating space for yourself, managing your life, and making things better for you and everyone else. When we allow people to set up camp in our space without knowing it, we can become resentful. There is a fine line between having the space you desire and being available to those who need you. So how do you know the difference? Is it possible that you can have the best of both worlds? Is there a way to compromise without feeling like you are giving in and sacrificing your principals? Does your willingness change with age? Do the circumstances change your availability? If you are single or married, will that make a difference?
Most things in life are gray, not black and white. I think setting boundaries falls into the same category. We need to make concessions, compromises, instead of being cemented into place. When you hold so firm, you don’t move and you will break. If you are able to bend, you are more likely to keep your mind and body healthy and strong.
I recently had to evaluate the boundaries I have set for myself and what other people feel is okay to cross when concerning me. I am also coming to terms with the boundaries my children have for themselves and other people I am in contact with daily. It’s safe to say that everyone has a different perspective on how people should handle their business. As a daughter, I have always believed I should call and have a short chat with my mom daily. I know she enjoys this communication, feels loved and cared for, and I can make sure she is okay. However, there are times when I am tired after a long day at work and feel overstimulated and don’t want to be on the phone. Those are the days I need to set my boundary and not call. The problem for me is “guilt.” I feel guilty if I don’t call, and then I beat myself up, make the call, and don’t give the attention the call deserves.
When discussing this issue with my children, they have the opposite opinion and have put into place their boundaries and stand very firm. They live their lives, call if they need to speak to me, and feel that’s how it should be. They will answer a text from me, but they prefer not to talk on the phone. If I catch them at a good time, I am lucky, which is few and far between. I know this is how they feel, and I have tried to abide by their wishes. I also have explained to them as a mom I would appreciate a call periodically to check in, say hello and let me know what’s going on in their lives. My preferred method would be a short phone call to hear their voice and have a conversation. You might imagine this opened up another can of worms. They felt all I was really after was the information, and the need to have a phone call was not necessary, so a text should be fine. I suppose I could have conceded and left it at that, but by this time, I was tired and feeling my age. Did I mention a gray area?
This type of negotiation is not just a family thing, it also goes for your work life. When people invade your time for work issues, this is stepping over the line. It is essential to stand up for yourself. There are laws in place for a reason, but the relationship is a far better one if you set boundaries. What about setting personal boundaries for yourself? I am talking about the limits you set for yourself financially, or for your health and wellness. Maybe you set limits in the romance department. So many times, we let situations run our lives, then we are frustrated by the outcome. We need to take back control of our lives. It takes practice and some work to be good at setting boundaries. This article, https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-way-to-build-and-preserve-better-boundaries/, gives some great tips on how to set boundaries. This site, https://roadtogrowthcounseling.com/importance-boundaries-relationships/, is also a great read. With more tools in our toolbox, we will be emotionally stronger and empowered.
I remind myself life is a journey, not a destination. I am a work in progress, and every day that I can learn something and be better than I was the day before, I am grateful.
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