Boundaries are more than just lines on a map or a line in the sand. In relationships, they are mandatory codes of conduct that need to be respected. It’s where we draw the line on what is acceptable behavior and what is not.
And in all honesty this year I can say it is the year of boundaries.
It’s a fact that you teach people how to treat you and whether it’s with family, friends, co-workers, or lovers, everyone must have boundaries. They are necessary because, well let’s face it, not everyone is playing nice. There are a lot of very unhealthy people out there, who make a habit of projecting their nonsense onto others and it’s your job to protect yourself. And that is where boundaries comes in.
You may have an incredibly critical mother, that thinks her hurtful words are beneficial, or you may be involved with an abusive friend/lover, that seeks to control you by attacking your self-esteem or a boss/ co-worker that is always trying to put you down.
The Need for Boundaries
I used to be a people pleaser in a way. I considered myself easy going and I was more interested in keeping the peace than being right. I thought I was being the bigger person and taking the high road by accepting other people’s shit.
I believed I should rather be happy than always being right.
That statement is only true when your self-esteem is not under attack, because if someone is hurting your feelings, then let’s be honest, you’re not happy.
I have a critical mother. It feels sometimes as if I can never please her and her remarks really did a number on my self-esteem. She would follow up hurtful comments with the phrase, “I’m only trying to help you,” as if that was supposed to automatically erase the pain, shame and guilt she caused me.
Had I understood about the importance of boundaries earlier I would have said to my mother, “Mom, what you are saying is not helping me. It’s hurtful and if you insist on talking to me that way, then I’m really not interested in spending time with you,” and if that didn’t change her behavior, I would have followed it up by actually not spending time with her.
If you don’t let someone know their behavior is inappropriate it will continue. You must communicate directly and immediately following the incident, that this behavior is not acceptable. And if it does continue, then you follow it up with immediate action, like ending your involvement with that person, because they are then showing you that they are the type of person that does not respect boundaries.
I have learned that my self-esteem is like the gold. It is valuable and mine to protect. No one, regardless of their issues, has any right to try to sneak out a few ounces, so that their own pile gets a little larger at the expense of mine.
“Standing up for yourself and enforcing boundaries does not make you a bitch. It makes you someone that loves and respects yourself.”
When you create boundaries it lets other people know where you stand on you, how you expect to be treated and that there are consequences for crossing those boundaries.
If you don’t enforce your boundaries with immediate action then your words are empty and people will not take you seriously. Messing around when you are young with your siblings, who love you, is one thing, but when you get into relationships with people you don’t know, it’s your responsibility to teach them how you expect to be treated. The clues about who you are involved with become evident immediately when you have and enforce your boundaries.
Here is a list of boundaries I will be enforcing this year:
- No comments about my children’s hair, way they dress or what they do when they are at home. They are truly happy little human beings with a mom and a dad that loves them more than anything in the world. If they look “wild” at home, it is because they are playing outside in the mud/ trampoline/ water.
- I will not tolerate being attacked about the way I choose to raise my kids. Yes, one day they will sleep in their own beds/ Z won’t drink a bottle by the time she is 3 and K will eventually eat more protein. I will never raise my hands to my girls. I don’t promote or teach violence.
- I will not discuss my relationships, the amount of hours I choose to work and my choices in general with anyone.
- I will not allow people to guilt trip me in doing things that I feel I am not responsible for. This is especially in my personal life.
- I don’t have to explain how I spend my money and on what. It is my money…. 😉
If someone knows where your line is drawn and they continue to leap back and forth over it, they are showing you where you stand with them and what you can expect more of in the future. By consistently enforcing your boundaries, you are cementing that line in the sand and if they continue to cross it, let them keep on walking.
This is the year of being fearlessly BOLD and strong!