October 2     

Today's quotation:

The purpose of having boundaries is to protect and take care of ourselves.  We need to be able to tell other people when they are acting in ways that are not acceptable to us.  A first step is starting to know that we have a right to protect and defend ourselves.  That we have not only the right, but the duty to take responsibility for how we allow others to treat us.

Robert Burney

Today's Meditation:

I've always been too good at creating and maintaining boundaries in my life.  When I was younger, they were walls that kept virtually everyone out; as I've grown older, I've been able to scale them back so that they're no longer damaging walls, but protective boundaries between me and my students (very important) and between me and the rest of the world.  I was just talking to a colleague yesterday who's already exhausted because, as she said, "I don't know how to say no."  That's the kind of thing that can be very damaging to our psyches, our spirits, and even our health.

If we don't establish and maintain boundaries, we run the risk of turning our lives into a never-ending parade (or charade) of pleasing others.  Doing work for others.  Taking care of others and their problems.  We can find ourselves with almost no privacy, no quiet moments, no opportunities for rest and relaxation and rejuvenation.

And as Robert says, boundaries aren't just about what we do for others-- they're about what we'll accept from others, how we allow them to treat us.  Too many of us allow others to be rude and mean to us because we're afraid we'll lose them in our lives, or because we're afraid that we'll hurt them-- or because we're afraid that they'll hurt us.  Sometimes situations become unbearable precisely because we haven't set any boundaries, because we've allowed others to do and say as they please when they're with us.

Boundaries need to be set, though.  And they need to be adhered to, within reason (if we establish unreasonable boundaries, we face other problems with frustration, anger, etc., when they're not respected).  We need to make sure that we know what our limits are and that other people in our lives respect those limits.  We need to do this to take care of ourselves, and to be very clear to others just what we'll stand and just what we won't.

Questions to consider:

What are some of your most important boundaries?  Do you respect them always?

Do you respect the boundaries of others?

What would life be like if we had no boundaries at all concerning others?

For further thought:

When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.  This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice.

Brené Brown
The Gifts of Imperfection

more thoughts and ideas on boundaries



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