I shared with my Mom this past Saturday, that I’ve struggled with boundaries for years and the process has been painful.
She agreed and mentioned her struggles with boundaries. If I bring up the topic, others nod in agreement. Okay folks so I’m not the only one. After everyone nods their heads in agreement, the conversation veers into another subject. But I’m still here thinking about how to define my boundaries, being 31 in 2021, Somethings-Gotta-Give. The conversation with Mom, many years of failing, and seeking guidance has inspired this blog post.
I’m not an expert or a Guru, I’m simply a young lady, who has felt it, I’ve survived some painful, toxic relationships and I want to take responsibility for the mess I’ve contributed, my own acidity and toxic behaviors. I forgive myself and want to enjoy the Now. I know that grace, goodness and mercy is available to me, healing and joy through this quick breath called Life.
This is important to me because I use to be the Yes – girl, always available, the reliable servant. God loves a cheerful giver… yea yea.
I faithfully said Yes, I’ll cover your shift.
Yes, I’ll watch your child, I’m available this weekend.
I regretfully cringed and told the dude, with hardly any chemistry, sure let’s go on a date this evening.
Yikes, that was such an exhausting andsad period of my life. I wasn’t sure who I was more upset with, them or myself. That anger was projected on them, family, friends, managers, reminding me that I didn’t have the courage to say ‘No’ and stand firm in my decision.
I also cringe thinking about the times I participated in ministry when I wasn’t spiritually available to participate in the service. I did it anyway, to people-please. After years of people pleasing, I was emotionally bankrupt and felt used. Whoa, so does that mean I was spiritually whoring myself out? Back then I felt saying yes gave me the medal of likability, when really it resulted in misery, self-hatred, and isolation.
Hold on, I know it sounds bleak right here, but there’s hope, a breakthrough is on the way. A mind made up, by an individual who desires change and moves in that direction, results in an outcome that is promising.
For the individual who desires to Practice Setting Boundaries, Ask yourself these 3 Questions:
- What are boundaries?
- What is the script?
- How to identify if a response is needed?
To answer these questions, I will seek guidance from experts, trained therapists, and mentors.
- What are boundaries? Ms. Iyanla Vanzant says it so well, “The powerful thing about boundaries is that when you trust yourself and the people with whom you share your life, your boundaries can be flexible, and you will still feel safe. Boundaries are fixed limits, not walls. They are meant to keep you safe within them, not to prevent other people from coming in.”
- What is the script? Brené Brown, Ph.D., says it plainly, “Rehearse. I’ll often say, to no one in particular, “I can’t take that on” or “My plate is full.” Like many worthwhile endeavors, boundary setting is a practice.” Lena Dunham, you know, Actor, Writer, Director, and Producer, says, ((“It was a slow process, but a polite “no” soon entered my vernacular. “I can’t do it realistically by Friday,” or “I wish I could be on that panel but my week is insane,” or even “no, I’m not comfortable with this dynamic.” And something miraculous happened: my personal life followed suit. I can’t be at the birthday party. I don’t want to go to laser tag ever as long as I live. I am exhausted. People respond well to honesty, to reality. They understand. And so with those no’s, YES sprung back up everywhere. Funny how that works.”))
- How to identify if a response is needed? Chad Buck, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist from Vanderbilt, says “In order to really establish limits, you have to state what you can or cannot tolerate. That means being clear and concise. Expressing your own needs will also allow you to be more transparent. All of these characteristics are elements of good communication.” The benefit is, you’ll be a better communicator. Buck continues to explain, “Communicate rather than anticipate or expect that other people will respect or understand your limits,” he advised. “Setting a boundary doesn’t require a long, convoluted justification.”
- “No” is a complete sentence.”― Annie Lamott
- “The journey is the distance to self-discovery, stretching the boundaries; taking those steps one by one, pursuing that goal step by step, conquering the mission goal by goal, expanding the vision mission by mission.” ― Anand Patwa
- “If you spend your life sparing people’s feelings and feeding their vanity, you get so you can’t distinguish what should be respected in them.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald,
- “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 only real conflict you will ever have in your life won’t be with others, but with yourself.” ― Shannon L. Alder
- “If you live your life to please everyone else, you will continue to feel frustrated and powerless. This is because what others want may not be good for you. You are not being mean when you say NO to unreasonable demands or when you express your ideas, feelings, and opinions, even if they differ from those of others.” ― Beverly Engel
- “If you want to live an authentic, meaningful life, you need to master the art of disappointing and upsetting others, hurting feelings, and living with the reality that some people just won’t like you. It may not be easy, but it’s essential if you want your life to reflect your deepest desires, values, and needs.” ― Cheryl Richardson
- “Whether they’re family or friends, manipulators are difficult to escape from. Give in to their demands and they’ll be happy enough, but if you develop a spine and start saying no, it will inevitably bring a fresh round of head games and emotional blackmail. You’ll notice that breaking free from someone else’s dominance will often result in them accusing you of being selfish. Yes, you’re selfish, because you’ve stopped doing what they want you to do for them. Wow. Can these people hear themselves?!” ― Rosie Blythe
- “Just as we expect others to value our boundaries, it’s equally important for us to respect the boundaries of others.” ― Laurie Buchanan, PhD
- “Sometimes our willingness to help others blinds us to the fact they do not want to be helped but rather want someone to whom they can transfer their burdens. This is why we must establish boundaries because someone else’s work is not yours to do.” ― Jeffrey G. Duarte
- “In order for us to practice self-control, we must have a goal. We must have something we are saying “yes” to, which necessarily comes with things that we must say “no” to. We use self-control to maneuver ourselves toward this “yes.” This goal must be entirely our own. The minute another person is choosing and managing our goals for us, we have left self-control behind.” ― Danny Silk
- “If you’re offended by my boundaries, then you’re probably one of the reasons I need them.” ― Steve Maraboli
- “Emotional self-defense… When you set healthier relationship standards in your life, some people will take it personally. That’s their issue, not yours. The distance isn’t against them; it’s for you. It’s a boundary, not a grudge.” ― Steve Maraboli
Call to Action: Set boundaries, write them down, practice aloud, and repeat them daily.