The Problem with Boundaries


The Problem with Boundaries

The term “boundaries” drives me crazy.
It implies that we need to have a barrier against others in order to be safe and secure. This is in direct opposition of the human need for connection and intimacy.

Also, when we use the term “boundaries,” it puts us in the position of victim and the other person as villain.

It creates an atmosphere where we need to be constantly on the defense, expecting others to do us wrong, sustaining the dynamic of antagonistic relationships, which have become status quo in love and life.

A more uplifting approach is to take care of oneself. What that means is that people know well ahead of any mishap what your expectations or needs are. When we act in a way that is full of integrity from the onset, we set others up to win because they have all of the necessary information.
How that can appear is something like this:
“I would love to pick you up on the way. However, I need you to be on time, otherwise, I will leave without you.”
This simple statement, gives you the opportunity to serve, but on clear terms. The person can check in with himself and determine whether or not he  agrees to the terms.

You may ask, “But what if they agree to the terms in word but not in deed? They agreed but were still late.”

If they are late, you get to make good on your word and leave. There are no surprises since you have already set the stage.

Having expectations ahead of time eliminates all sorts of drama.  Conversely, boundaries are often an afterthought, after an “offense” has been made.

A great way to clean that up is this: “I didn’t mention it at the time that it is really important to me to be on time.  Since you were late today, I ask that you be on time going forward.” Or bolder still, “Since you were late last time, going forward, I won’t be offering you a ride.”

This very simple principle can be applied to all sorts of situations, even ones in high stakes relationships like close friends and family. Those who love you will appreciate having more information and an easier time knowing where you stand.

Your Assignment: Is there someone in your circle who abuses one of your unwritten “rules” but doesn’t know it? If you are harboring some resentment, can you lovingly tell them, “I don’t think that you know this about me but, I need…” and then release your expectations of them, knowing that they will do the best they can in this time and space. Can you allow them to do what they need to do but also take care of yourself in the process?

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