I’ve learned a lot about boundaries in the last year. I think it’s important to write about them because not many people truly know what they are. Some people put up a wall, and decide that’s their boundary. Some people make impossible rules for their family members and close friends to follow. Some people yell and scream when someone else makes a mistake and call it a boundary. I am not saying all this to point a finger at anyone. I’ve just been observing for most of my life, and realized that most people, despite all the “boundary setting” self-care jargon that goes around, have absolutely no idea how set a meaningful and realistic boundary. Myself included, at least up until this point.
Boundaries come from a place of deep love. Yes, they come from self-care, but they actually come from deep love of the other person/people as well. When we set boundaries, it is a realistic expectation, and it comes from a realistic state of being. For example, if I get tired after three hours of socializing, setting the boundary can be lovingly telling the person I am with that I must go home after three hours. Otherwise, I will be drained of all my energy. I will be tired the next day, and I will be resentful of them if I don’t let them know how I feel. Others aren’t mind-readers, and most others want you to be happy because they love you. If they don’t want you to be happy, then the relationship is worth re-thinking. I am by no means telling people to start cutting off relationships, but maybe take a look at where the disconnect lies. And yes, this requires a lot of self-reflection and self-inquiry, but it is worth it when you are able to find an energetic balance in life that works well for you.
My more recent realization is that when setting a boundary, you are setting this boundary out of a love and consideration for the other person. If you are expecting them to read your mind, and then becoming resentful of them because they didn’t, you are the one not being considerate of them. This was hard for me to swallow (and still is) because I think of myself as a truly conscientious person, but I hate creating conflict. Setting boundaries is hard for me. But if I want to truly care for someone else, I must tell them when I am being pushed too hard. Easier said than done, and I am by no means an expert, or even close to being good at this yet. I think success and ease come over time and with practice, and I am just starting at the beginning.
I hope this helps someone out there struggling with what boundaries mean to them. I am happy to have a dialogue if anyone has questions or wants to talk about it further.
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