Tag: Boundaries

Good fences make good neighbors.

A couple of days ago, I was chewed out by a coworker. I made a mistake, admitted fault, and was belittled in front of others for it. It wasn’t my boss or a person of authority, but a friend. I was embarrassed and it hurt. I cried big ugly tears in front of folks who have never seen me cry. This wasn’t the first time, but third.

The same day, my pastor posted something to Facebook that stuck with me and confirmed what was already on my heart.

You’re not responsible for other people’s feelings. Quit carrying around other people’s baggage just because they demand it.

As my coworker was laying into me, I kept thinking, “You deserve this because you messed up.”  I told myself I deserved to be belittled because of my mistake. Later I realized how low my self-esteem is to tell myself this kind of treatment is okay. After talking it through with God, myself, and friends, I made the decision that this is not okay and any one who makes me feel like I’m worth this kind of treatment doesn’t deserve attention.  The most important lesson I’m walking away with after this incident is if I screw up and admit fault, and the other person reacts angrily and unprofessionally, it’s not my responsibility. That’s not my load to carry, it’s theirs. We cannot own each other’s feelings, only our own. We aren’t responsible for any one else’s behavior or reactions, only our own. Future interactions with this person will change and a bridge was burned.  Not out of resentment or malice, but because of boundaries.

Good fences make good neighbors.

I’ve noticed a pattern with the people in my life, particularly with men. It’s one thing to talk about boundaries, it’s another to actually establish and utilize them. This incident at work needed to happen for a few reasons. Another man in my life needed to hurt me to wake me.  To be fair, I’ve been the person on the other end of this. I’ve been that person, the one who reacted angrily. I’m not bitter or angry towards them, but I am aware.

An awareness of where we stand with the people in our life helps us to set boundaries. We all have limits. I’m doing better with identifying what mine are. I don’t put a big emphasis on my feelings any more and when my feelings start to cloud my judgement, I take a step back. This incident at work wasn’t about feelings, but this person crossing over my fence. They crossed a line.

A person with a healthy view of self, sets healthy boundaries. I will be this person moving forward.

This year has taught me how to deepen existing relationships, not to live an offended life with past relationships, and to establish boundaries with both. When people cross over our fence (boundary line) repeatedly and we don’t stop it, we’re enabling the behavior to continue. Any person with a healthy view of self wouldn’t allow themselves to be mistreated whether they love or care about the person doing the mistreating. Thankfully, I have friends who affirm and God to confirm this.

If you struggle with boundaries, you’re not alone. It’s my prayer and hope we will all learn to love ourselves and build fences (not walls) with the people in our life. Fences are healthy. They don’t keep people out entirely, they’re not meant to, but are essential for healthy relationships.

Good fences make good neighbors.  Repeat this until it becomes a way of life.

In Jesus and with love,

Julie

photo credit: petrOlly Lost heart via photopin (license)

Boundaries and a Better Life

 

“Boundaries bring life”

Everyone has boundaries and I’m not one of them.

There are certain areas in our life that others aren’t meant to cross. The problem with me is that I have lived most of my life boundless.  Maybe not having appropriate boundaries is the reason I’ve been hurt a lot. I’ve just always lived my life as an open book, especially regarding my feelings. The problem for me living a boundless life has resulted in being hurt, being used, and taken advantage of. I have reached a point in my life where it’s time for me to create boundaries.

Boundaries are meant to protect us.

Most of my life I have felt pretty unprotected. This goes back to my childhood and carried into adult hood.  For most of my life I have taken care of my emotional, mental, and physical self and have lived without walls. I’ve been responsible for everything that has happened in my life due to living without boundaries. I allowed myself to be used because I wanted to be loved and in turn I got hurt.  “No” has never been programmed into my vocabulary. I have found that when I’ve put my foot down on things that I was allowing others to do to me, I felt more protected. More importantly, I feel respected.  We need to be able to tell other people when they are acting in ways that are not acceptable to us.

Boundaries prevent us from being personal door mats.

We have a responsibility to take care of us and our needs. I have a tendency to give in to everyone because I enjoy helping others. The problem for me has been doing more helping and receiving very little in return. I have spent the better part of my life helping other people get their life in order by helping them financially, physically, and emotionally. In return, I was left, ignored, and forgotten. My kindness was abused.  People in our life who truly love and care about us will show us by respecting and returning the favor. “Value yourself. The only people who appreciate a doormat are people with dirty shoes.”

Boundaries are about freedom and love.

Boundaries are about God restoring freedom to us so we can take control of our lives and love Him and others in return.  Having boundaries doesn’t make us selfish, it’s about serving God in a healthy capacity so we can love others the right way.

“Boundaries are about freedom, and freedom is always meant to have as it’s ultimate fruit, love. As Paul says, and we would echo to anyone who uses boundaries in a self-serving way, You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.”

— Cloud-Townsend

These past few months have been emotionally taxing and I’ve been through a lot in my personal life. On the same hand I am also growing spiritually and learning to see my life with a different pair of eyes and perspective. I want to be loved and appreciated for who I am becoming, not who I was and that’s why boundaries are necessary. We all have difficult people in our life who make it hard to create and maintain personal boundaries. But we are still called to love and forgive them. Surround yourself with supportive and encouraging people who will help you do the right thing.

Create boundaries and live a better life.

Galatians 6:5

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

What boundaries do you need to create in your life?