As a naturally giving person, I often forget that boundaries are healthy and necessary for personal peace and mental stability. It’s not until I’m suffering from their absence that I realize I should’ve stated my boundaries from the beginning.
Boundaries create a clear division between what is and what is not acceptable. Having boundaries allows each party to draw their line in the sand that should not be crossed, should be approached with caution or given time and space.
Boundaries are essential to healthy relationships, platonic and romantic. You need boundaries with your friends, partner, parents, bosses, etc.
The narrative that boundaries are bad comes from us dressing up unhealthy habits and qualities as “boundaries” when we really are just too lazy or complacent to work through them. They are not the same as emotional and physical walls we put up to escape vulnerability, communication or transparency. For example, I have a space boundary where every now and then I take physical space from everyone and everything to re-center and regain social battery and creativity. Walking away when I’m frustrated or running away from arguments is not a space boundary, that’s an unhealthy habit that I need to eliminate.
These intangible barriers are often the saving factor for the tangible relationships. Relationships without boundaries will result in either one or both parties feeling run over, disregarded, neglected or run dry. When I started stating my boundaries and understanding the other parties, miscommunication and disagreements subsided.
It is your responsibility to communicate your boundaries. It’s the other parties responsibility to listen to understand those boundaries and respect them. If your boundaries are neglected, you might choose to reaffirm them or remove yourself from that relationship.
Don’t manipulate someone’s boundaries for your own selfish gain. Who are you to tell someone that their boundaries don’t make sense or aren’t necessary? Recklessly disregarded someone’s boundaries is also selfish. If you feel like you need more explanation or background, you can ask but also recognize that not everyone owes you an explanation especially when it comes to things that keep this person sane and at peace.
You have to be honest with yourself about what you need. If you are like me and shy away from confrontation or have a hard time putting yourself and your priorities first, creating boundaries may be rocky at first. Yet, the freedom and clarity you feel after establishing them is priceless.
In the words of vic,
Create your boundaries and don’t apologize for them.