Boundaries: What They Are and Why They Matter

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One of the most serious problems facing our generation today is the confusion around boundaries.

Just the word elicits a response from most people.

  • Those who feel boundaries are walls keeping “something” away will respond with a negative feeling.
  • Those who feel overwhelmed by work, family or kids can feel like boundaries are what they lack. 

However, you responded when you read the title, all of us have much to learn about boundaries.

Just as property owners have real boundaries around their property, so we each need to set boundaries to help us, and others understand what is our responsibility and what is not.

Boundaries come in many forms: Mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. And the inability to set boundaries can be destructive for our lives. Misinformation and bias keep many from taking the proper steps to establish compassionate boundaries that benefit all parties.

Boundaries establish what we are responsible for and what we are concerned about.

We are responsible for our ABCDS…OUR Attitude, Behavior, Choices, and Decision. And that is it. However, like the graph below illustrates, we are concerned about many things.

  • The choices our adult children are making are our CONCERNS, not our RESPONSIBILITY.
  • The behaviors of our coworkers are our CONCERN, not our RESPONSIBILY.
  • The attitude of our spouse or partner is our CONCERN, not our RESPONSIBILITY.

The problem with the diagram below is when we take on the responsibility of others, we usurp their ability to handle their ABCDs and then later, we are overwhelmed trying to carry their daily load and ours as well. We see resentment or bitterness as a behavior developing in ourselves and this is a sure sign that a boundary line has not been well established.

It is so easy to misunderstand boundaries. We readily notice when other people have difficulty setting limits — however, we struggle at times to respect other people’s limits.

Which of the following do you struggle with?

  • Fear of hurting the other person’s feelings
  • Fear of abandonment or being separated from the person you love
  • A wish to be totally dependent on someone
  • Fear of someone’s anger
  • Fear of being punished
  • Fear of being ashamed
  • Fear of being seen as selfish
  • Fear of being unspiritual
  • Fear of your own overstrict, critical self

Fortunately, specific, orderly changes can help a person overcome their boundary fears and grow in their maturity of boundaries. 

This month, we launched a class to help individuals who are ready to make these changes. Feedback from the class will be shared in our upcoming April newsletter — so we encourage you to check out what people are saying. Remember: tools are available to you.You are not stuck in your current way of thinking and feeling, and we can help.

Check out our FREE 30-minute introductory class on boundaries May 3 if you are ready to make a change!

As always, we are here to help you reach your full potential. Let’s connect. 

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