I find that I like boundaries. I like living within the confines of a set of rules. Not so much that I feel oppressed or creatively stifled, but just enough so that I can feel free to run about the boundaries I have set for myself or those that I agree to- so that I feel a sense of security, which in turn, gives me a sense of... freedom, of all things!
There are times that I like to test the edges of those boundaries, you know, just to make sure that they're still in place. Like, I don't know... speeding. I love to drive fast. But there are limits set as to how fast I am safely allowed to go. And yes, I test those limits and am always- ALWAYS- reassured that they are in place for a reason and I am reminded by the red and blue flashing lights, the quick drainage of my gas tank or my faithful SUV ratteling and grumbling under the strain. So, I pull back with in my boundaries, satisfied that I totally lived on the edge for a minute there, but am rewarded by an uninterrupted, longer, peaceful journey.
And such is life and relationships.
Love may know no bounds, but sometimes, you just need to reign that stuff in! I like to know my boundaries in all of my relationships, be it love relationships, friends or even as a parent. And you each test those boundaries to find out exactly where where they are especially since life and love doesn't come with a check-list! It is a testament to your character how you handle those tests and it the testament of your partner that shows respect when he/she comes near those edges.
Boundaries allows each person in the relationship to feel more secure. There is trust. There is respect. And when there is security in a relationship it can find the courage to grow. A relationship that does not have secure, respected boundaries remains stagnant. Still, until one side budges. Think of a parent and a stubborn teenager. The rules are set in place for their safety, but the teen doesn't understand that yet and so there is no cohesion. The relationship between parent and child becomes strained. Trust is tested.
The same is true with friendship and love relationships. Look at, for example, an abused wife. Her boundaries have been crossed. She shuts down. Her self-esteem is shattered. The relationship cannot grow or mend until the boundaries are set back in play and respected.
Having accountability with each other gives you an unspoken set of rules to live by so you can each stretch out with in those boundaries and feel free to love, argue, learn about and bond all while feeling perfectly secure.
Can't We Just See How It Goes? Do We Have To Have Boundaries?
Without boundaries, it can leave each person unclear as to their role in the relationship, or even the future of said relationship. Nothing feels settled. You are in a constant state of "limbo" waiting for boundaries to make themselves clear. It creates unnecessary insecurities for one or both partners.
Other reasons for boundaries:
- It shows respect for your partner and for yourself. If you don't respect yourself, then why should anyone else? Some people seem to think that if they enforce boundaries that they will be looked down on, or left out. But since when is having high moral character something to look down upon?? And take just a moment to look at the one who is looking down. Probably the one trying to cross your boundaries and disrespect you in the first place.
- Boundaries aren't just to keep others from disrespecting you. They also keep YOU from disrespecting YOU. So you don't allow yourself to be put into situations where that can happen. And you are strong in your beliefs so that when someone tries to test those boundaries, your inner alarm goes off and you protect yourself.
What Are Your Boundaries?
Boundaries are rarely talked about but more likely shown. As I mentioned, there's no check-list when it comes to dealing with people in our lives. Yes, relationships have rules that the majority of the public follows, but you also need to be aware of your own personal set. They create your boundaries and how fiercely you protect them.
Decide for yourself what you are willing to accept in a relationship and then trust your instincts. And because relationships are built of a give- and-take system, your boundaries will develop on different levels. Your Core Boundaries are the ones that are un-waiverable. The ones that if he/she tries to cross them, you show that person to the door. Others are a bit more pliable and can be moved or even sacrificed for the sake of the relationship. But again. listen to your gut. It will tell you when you are heading down the wrong path.
Boundaries FORCE you to hold yourself accountable for your own happiness and... even for your misery.
Hang on for PART TWO of Loving Your Boundaries- Learning to Say NO! Coming Soon...