For many people, as well as myself, for many years, the word “boundaries” sounded so limiting, suffocating and unimportant. But, in the process of living a healthy life, “boundaries” actually creates order, safety, discipline and helps us process challenges well with balance and understanding.
Recently, I was facing a challenge that appeared formidable. I literally felt I was blindsided and emotionally caught o guard by someone else’s decision, and consequent action.
In processing through the situation, I was reminded that the person was “doing them”. They were living within the norm and desire for their lives, and our friendship. A norm that by fault I had agreed to by not guarding my expectation of our friendship with “boundaries” and not advocating what behavior “was not” emotionally comfortable for me.
In other words, the experience I was having was my making because I had not set clear and strong “boundaries” within our friendship. I could not blame the other person. I had to hold myself accountable for what I had not done, and not for what they had chosen to do.
As parents, we set boundaries for our children. We set rules, expectations and consequences for behaviors outside of the boundary lines we have created for them.
Some people have invisible boundary lines, and others have clear communication on what is acceptable in a marriage, a relationship, a work contract, a partnership, in academic spaces and or a friendship. The more emotionally stable we are, the clearer, more precise and more direct we can communicate. This enhances our ability to set clear boundaries that can be monitored, measured, and appropriately responded to when they are violated.
Many people with challenged childhoods, toxic relational experiences, and or fear based inner conflicts are challenged to set, keep, or process the need for boundaries. They either set no boundaries, or allow their boundaries to be violated, and very often violate the boundaries of others.
Children that have experienced trauma, or abuse tend to have long term physical ailments, and also lifelong emotional regulatory struggle, because the internal growth process of their lives have been disrupted by an involuntary violation of their boundaries.
We all need boundaries, from how much food to eat before we stop, how much pain we allow ourselves to endure before we self-destruct, etc. The internal and external boundary mechanism inside of us can help us regulate what is healthy, acceptable and not acceptable for each of us.
It is not only healthy for us to have boundaries, it also helps us in our relationship with others, our work and all the other areas of our lives. Boundaries help us grow, perform well, create internal security, understand ourselves and have our needs met. It advocates for our identity, self-esteem and our security.
With boundaries we will not violate ourselves, or our purpose.Boundaries will set the framework of how we love, take care and advocate for ourselves; how we love, care for, communicate, appreciate, honor and respect others.
By: Sonia M. Wignall
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