6 Tips for Better Boundaries

woman standing her groundToday’s post is essentially a letter to myself, in that it’s about something I struggle with personally: Boundaries.

Check it out. It’s like I wrote myself a boundaries to-do list, and you just happen to be reading along.

If you have trouble with boundaries sometimes and can relate, that’s awesome.

But basically I’m writing for myself this week.

Please leave a note in the comments if you have any words of inspiration or tips to share.

Here’s a link to the post:

Because I Said So | Psychology Today

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3 comments on “6 Tips for Better Boundaries

  1. multnoma says:

    Yes, but
    On the, sort of, contrary ….

    “Once you set a boundary, the long-term work of defending that boundary begins” Which is an exhausting, and unproductive way of leading a life. Defining boundaries is too procedural and leaves people who have trouble in this area (speaking from experience) vulnerable to the ‘you didn’t give 30 days’ notice of your requirement, say Mother May I? or consult Emily Post ‘ argument. Which you will make to yourself if your transgressor doesn’t.

    And consistency ? TG: “ If it’s not okay to call you names today, it shouldn’t be okay tomorrow” I disagree in this way – this may be something one should work on, but it’s implication is that until you can set and defend a boundary perfectly, you don’t get to play our game. Or that once you object, if you fail to object the second time, you have forfeited the right to object thereafter

    I grew up (chronologically, anyway) thinking that if I could learn all the rules, I would be ok. Fallacious in two regards. It left me trying to constantly prepare to live by the rules of the world. And worse, it turns out there aren’t any rules.

    All that comes from shame i.e.
    I’m not worthy unto myself of interacting with you except within a protocol (which doesn’t exist)
    I and am likewise ashamed to confront you when you don’t adhere
    and I rationalize that by internalizing my failure to post ‘no trespassing’ signs.

    And all that will go away when I run MS Shamechek on the boundaries I’ve defined?
    Would that it were so.

    The boundary metaphor enables and or reinforces self-shaming.
    It is, among other things, a way to avoid asserting oneself
    i.e. as long as we are negotiating respect for boundaries neither you nor I have to respect me.

    I think it comes to this: referring to your preferences needs and desires with a metaphor such as boundaries, externalizes who you are. It makes who you are debatable. And that is something you must not tolerate from yourself or anyone else.

    (deleted long paragraph which badly made this point) Your goal is not to have people respect your boundaries. Your goal is to act and respond in the world as if you matter.

    I assert myself, therefor I am.

    Words of wisdom I read somewhere: It’s okay to say “no” simply because I don’t want to say “yes”.
    If I may, I expand them to: it’s ok to object to something, simply because you object to it. On an ad hoc basis. Out of the blue. With no warning.

    A quote from TG: which I couldn’t seem to work into the text but I think is related to all this. “Selfishness is unthinking, whereas self-knowledge comes from purposeful self-awareness.”

    I mentioned that I have some experience in this area from the patient side. Meaning, maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, but this is what worked (as if it’s complete, hah) for me.

    • Thank you for your thoughts on this, Multnoma. They were eye-opening for me. I’d never thought of boundaries as a potential source of self-shaming, but of course anything one attempts to do for oneself can lead to a feeling of shame if it doesn’t go as planned.

      I’m glad you made that point. Always in life, it pays to be gentle with oneself. Nobody gets it right every time, but unless you end up in jail, you never forfeit the right to keep trying.

      As for whether personal boundaries are “debatable,” I’m not sure they’re really boundaries if that’s the case.

      As always, I appreciate your taking the time to leave a note about the post. Your comments are very thoughtful.

  2. Ammah says:

    Most people don’t need help with boundaries. They know how to interact & respect others. The ones who needing help & feel they are being trampled on have more than one issues clogging there head with little voices on high speed in there head. Loving one another has no boundaries we are all intertwined like a woven carpet. Once you separate humans as ” I ” we become exchangeable & disposable like the i- phone. This is when the little critters in the head arrive, pecking at your head.

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