Boundaries for Others

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Boundaries for Others | As a therapist, I’ve noticed that not many people, at least not many who come to therapy, have been taught good things about boundaries. In fact, some people have been directly or indirectly sent very negative messages about them | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #Boundaries for Others #Boundaries #OthersBoundaries for Others

Good fences make good neighbors.

– Robert Frost

As a therapist, I’ve noticed that not many people, at least not many who come to therapy, have been taught good things about boundaries. In fact, some people have been directly or indirectly sent very negative messages about them. Many have been given the idea boundaries are a sign of entitlement, artificial walls, or unhealthy distance. Others have set boundaries only to have them continually criticized and have been shamed for them. Still others have never been taught there is such a thing as setting physical, emotional, and spiritual limits, much less that doing so is a gift for themselves and others. Boundaries play a huge role in healthy communication and relationships.

When discussing or setting boundaries with others, it is best to do so in a time of calm rather than conflict.  This makes it easiest for peaceful communication and minimizes the need for defensiveness. People learn to relate to us the way they do based on what boundaries we do or don’t establish. When we realize we need to change or establish boundaries with someone, it can be a humbling experience. Being clear is essential, so the other person knows what we are comfortable with and what we aren’t. All the while, clarity must be achieved without neglecting charity. That might sound like, “I’m uncomfortable when you say or do (x).” The other person may readily accept your boundary and apologize and then the air is clear. Others may insist on their way and further discussion is needed. Fundamentally, we have a responsibility to communicate how we are okay with being treated and how we aren’t. Otherwise, we’re relying on others to guess what we’re thinking, which is a setup for disaster and is not fair to either party. Most often, people have good intentions and simply aren’t aware of our needs. We are all so different.

There may be times when someone may try our boundaries. It may be intentional or unintentional; regardless, we don’t have to be upset by such interactions once we are aware of our responsibility to have healthy boundaries. It is natural for people to forget that the boundaries have changed and behave the way they are used to. They may simply need a reminder. The more you see boundaries as a gift for the other person, the more setting and maintaining them becomes easier.

Setting boundaries used to be difficult for me, but over the years it has become much easier. A number of years ago I went to a dentist who tried to pressure me into having elective work done which I didn’t want. During a dental appointment, I stated my desire and my rationale. When he pushed the issue at the same visit, I reiterated my wishes. He proceeded to tell his assistant to do a panoramic x-ray of my mouth to see if I was a candidate for the work he was trying to pressure me to have. She put the lead apron over me and was moving the x-ray machine into place. My immediate thought was, “He is older, and a doctor, and so maybe I should do what he’s suggesting.” Thankfully, that thought only lasted a couple of seconds. The next moment, it came to me that since I am an adult and it is my mouth, I have a right to have my wishes respected. Even if I was wrong, I had the right to be wrong. I respectfully removed the x-ray apron and handed it back to the assistant and very calmly told the doctor it wasn’t going to work for me to treat with him. I calmly got up from the chair and left without any drama. That experience was a personal victory and stands out as a positive memory. I learned my safety and peace aren’t contingent on the respect others have for my boundaries. The process of deepening connection to God and myself brought me to the point of being able to respond in such a way.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for calling us your children, and for your faithful, unfailing love. Help us all to know that you desire that we live together in love and peace, and that you give us the grace to bring your kingdom to the world in who we are and what we do each day. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

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