Updated: Apr 23, 2021
Bubble baths are great, but you know what is better? Setting limits with people, situations and things that feel bad.
I know some people view boundaries as being a negative or selfish thing, but I'd like to challenge that notion. #BoundariesAreBeautiful and they are so incredibly relevant, necessary and simply useful.
No is a full sentence. You are not required to explain your no.
They are so important yet underutilized. Many don’t like setting them…and honestly, some refuse to honor boundaries. The reason I like them so much is they tell a story. And, if you know me at all…you KNOW I like a good story.
They start the story by being honest w/self and others. Which is not that easy to do if it is something in that you are unaccustomed. Look at it this way…if you set a boundary for your home, it is a fence. It let’s someone know that there is someone that cares about the yard, the house and the folks that dwell within. We can have different types of fences…cute, short, tall, electric, barb-wired or razor-wired. Each are going to denote exactly how the possible unwelcome visitor will be received.
Boundaries in people can also come in many forms. Perhaps, it looks like body language. It could present as tone of voice or even inflections! It may be a look on the face, a glace of the eye or the sudden switch to silence or noise. It could be distinctly verbal.
It is one of the clearest boundaries. It is a full sentence and requires absolutely no explanation. You could choose to explain if you desire, but it is most certainly not required.
When I first became a counselor, I had a client that was young woman with an intellectual disability. She’d found herself in unfavorable situations and desired to avoid them in the future. We worked on saying the word “NO”. She struggled. We made it a game. The struggle continued. We practiced and practiced and were eventually able to get to the point where she could say a bold and profound “NO!” It took some WORK! But, we made it…and that is what matters.
Some are so uncomfortable setting distinctive and clear boundaries. They have dreams, goals, beautiful friends and desires for their lives, but get stuck with this thought of being unworthy. That sense of unworthiness leads to struggling with boundaries. The very notion of drawing a line in the sand that means “don’t cross” is foreign and unfathomable. However, it shouldn’t be this way.
Boundaries are absolutely beautiful! They let you know exactly when you’ve had enough. They are not only a line in the sand or a fence for the other person, but also for you. You may have a boundary about someone yelling at you, how late you will stay out with your besties or even a bed time.
Yeah, that is a boundary…especially for the night owls amongst us.
When you set the boundary, you have the opportunity to engage in a new manner. If your boundary is not allowing others to eat off your plate and your dining companion eats off your plate you can take several actions.
Remind them of the boundary. They will respond in some mannerism. Ignoring you? Honoring your request? Laughing? Each of these are well within their right and you know what? They detail precisely how this person feels about your boundary. The boundary you worked to create and maintain.
Now…you have more options…if they apologized and honored your request, you are GOOD! If they chose to laugh or ignore…you have more decisions to make. Perhaps this person isn’t someone you sit next to when dining? Perhaps, you do not dine with them at all? If they laughed at your boundary…how much are they valuing you?
None of this is easy. It is difficult, but worthwhile. It must be done. Why? Well, we want to create a life that is by design, not default. Creating and maintaining boundaries is a stellar example of a strong and bold step toward that life.