I know the topic of boundaries at first glance seems to be a basic concept. We have been taught about boundaries since we were children; if your childhood was anything like mine, you heard many of the following statements.
“Lisa, don’t eat that!”
“Lisa, don’t go out in the street!’
“Lisa, don’t talk to strangers!’
“Lisa, don’t play on the stairs!”
“Lisa, don’t touch the stove!”
And the list goes on and on.
Despite many of us grew up in a rule conscious environment (boundaries), many of us fail to set boundaries for others in our life. We fall to set boundaries because we are AFRAID. We are afraid that by setting limits for other people in our lives that we will be rejected by them, that that they will withdraw their love from us as punishment for our unwillingness to conform to their will and their way, and we don’t want to be alone. So, we accept actions and behaviors for other people that we disagree with, which often harm us physically and emotionally, and leave us in a state of lack. But, we tell ourselves that being in lack or want is better than being alone and lonely. But it is not a failure
The problem is that it that when we fail to set boundaries in our life, we make ourselves responsible things and events that are outside of our backyard. When we fail to create boundaries in our life, we struggle to hold on to those things, people, and ideas that belong to us.
So with this fact in mind, I would like to share with you some strategies to establish boundaries in your own life.
- The basic technique to build boundaries is the word “no.” By learning to say “no,” you tell others that you exist apart from them and that you are in control of yourself. “No,” is a confrontational word, but it is a meaningful way to set limits that stop the abuse. This word and other words like “no” define your property line to others as verbalizing your likes and dislikes.
- Living in the truth allows you to set boundaries for yourself and others because it establishes the standard that you will live and operate by. It states that you will not allow yourself or others to work in your life based on lies and manipulation that the truth is the foundation, and everything that functions in your life must lead back to fact.
- Emotional Distancing is a temporary way to set boundaries in your life. This strategy allows you to retreat into a safe place so that you can protect your heart from abusive people. This strategy requires that you guard your heart, while the abusive person in your life chooses to change. It allows you to forgive without setting yourself up for a repeat of the abusive behavior.
It seems easy as 1, 2, 3 to set boundaries in our lives, but in reality, it is one of the most challenging things we must do. We struggle with our desire to be love and to have a sense of belonging to the group. We battle with our self-image and feelings of selfishness.
Our ability to set boundaries means that we must be willing to fight the voices that bombard us from without and within. This fight is not an easy task, but a war that will be worth the battle, in the long run.
Cloud, H., and J. Townshend. 1992. Boundaries. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.