by Kevie Simon on Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
Whenever someone brings up the topic of boundaries, I tend to cringe a little inside. It’s the dreaded little ‘b’ word that seems to always be easier said than done. Many thoughts have come to my head when the boundary word has been said. Does a boundary really change anything at all? What if someone keeps trampling on my boundaries, what do I do then? What if they choose to leave? Despite my cringing, what I have learned through my recovery process about boundaries has literally revolutionized my life. I used to be the girl who couldn’t make a decision about anything for fear of not choosing what other people wanted. Boundaries taught me that I am a person worthy of a voice, and I believe it can do the same for you.
Boundaries ask the question: what do you need to feel safe in this relationship? Boundaries are not about controlling other people, but creating safety and protection and health for all parties involved. Did you hear that? Boundaries are healthy! The most loving relationships have clear boundaries that keep each person safe and give value to all persons. Good boundaries also have clear consequences. If your loved one crosses a boundary line, they know the consequences up front, and you must follow through.
But boundaries are also hard! The nitty gritty truth is, boundaries initially create more anxiety and conflict. Sounds a little counterintuitive doesn’t it? As soon as you put them in place, people react and usually not in the best way. It’s not comfortable nor easy to put up boundaries, especially at first. When your partner/family member/friend crosses the first boundary and you have to follow through with the consequence, it’s uncomfortable and usually causes conflict. At times, it may seem opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. But I promise, it’s not. Here’s a funny thing about humans. We really don’t like change, especially in our closest relationships. When you begin to change your closest relationships by creating boundaries, it’s going to be uncomfortable for everyone involved. I say this not to discourage you, but to encourage you that this is a normal part of the process.
Ponder with me for a moment. What’s the worst that could happen if you put a boundary in place? Maybe you have a heated argument, maybe the other person walks out, maybe your they cross the boundary and you have to serve a consequence you don’t want to do. If the ‘worst’ actually happens, do you really want this relationship to stay this way? This question is not an easy one to think about. If the worst does happen, you may choose to leave the relationship. But boundaries can also be major catalysts for change for yourself and your loved one.
The first time I put up a boundary, I was terrified. I was sure this person would react in a way that would increase our conflict. And the truth is, it did. As a result of following through with the consequences of the boundaries I put in place, it actually lead to me leaving the relationship permanently. That was my worst fear and it came true. At first, I was heartbroken, but came to realize that I was worth the boundaries I had put in place. I found my voice and my value through putting up these boundaries. I learned that I was not powerless at all.
Today you have a decision to make. You can continue in the pattern that you know, or you can take the first steps to create change by placing boundaries. You are not powerless in this situation, and boundaries are the first step in remembering that you have a voice. I feel like this blog is like a call to arms. Male or female, you have a choice in your relationship. Making a choice requires action, so how are you going to take a step towards creating healthy boundaries today?