“You best back it up, cause you just crossed my boundary!” That’s what I wanted to say when I was recently treated poorly by someone. However I knew better than to enter into territory that was unstable ground. So I held tightly to my boundary line and expressed myself in a mature way, trying to maintain dignity and class.
After all was said and done I was still left feeling hurt and confused but vindicated by holding to the truth and maintaining my boundary. Since I’ve said boundary a few times already I’m going to dive in and explain why I think boundaries are important and why it’s so difficult to hold to them.
Personal boundaries like physical ones are designed to set the distances you allow others to approach in your life. There are physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental boundaries.
I’m all for being open and transparent with others. I like to be true to my genuine nature but when I feel disrespected or invalidated by someone, I set my limit of how I will let them affect me.
My boundaries are guidelines and limits that I’ve created based on my own background. These limits identify what is reasonable, safe and permissible ways for others to behave around me. They also cue me to know how to respond to others when someone steps outside those limits.
It can be as simple as just not allowing yourself to be around the person who crosses your boundary. If it is a close friend, express yourself and why you feel the way you do.
Boundaries are important to us as relational people because if we did not have them we either don’t know who we are, or we deny who we are. Following that pattern, will eventually leave you angry, hurt, and bitter. Certainly not living a healthy life or having relationships that make you feel valued.
These guidelines may be hard for you to hold or even identify for many reasons. Maybe you grew up in a family that didn’t have healthy boundaries. Maybe you never learned to foster you own limits because your feelings have been denied or invalidated. Whatever it might be, now is the time to figure out what YOU will allow in your life and start setting some limits as to how you allow people to treat you. This will be challenging but so worth it!
You will become a better person for knowing who you are, protecting yourself, and having relationships that fill you up with love.
If you’d like to learn more about how to live a balanced life and how to set boundaries, I recommend reading “Boundaries”, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.
The Kindred Street
Featured photography by Kendal Riley.