We all have boundaries, or limits to what we are comfortable with.
Our boundaries are the guidelines for how we act in response to others’ treatment of us, and the rules that set out how others should treat us.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, we don’t come with an instruction manual. There’s no chapter on boundaries that makes it clear what ours are and how we want to be treated. For those of us who are aware of our boundaries, it’s rare to find them hung up on the walls of our homes, clear for everyone to see. No, our boundaries exist in our heads.
So, when our boundaries are overstepped, and we don’t enforce them, what are our boundaries?
There’s a difference between the boundaries we set for ourselves and are comfortable with, and the boundaries we accept.
This disconnect is a common cause of conflict in our relationships. Sometimes, we may not be fully aware of our boundaries ourselves. Sometimes we may simply just feel upset, frustrated, or angry at another person’s actions, without attributing the cause to overstepped boundaries.
Enforcing your boundaries is hard. It’s daunting. Boundaries are, after all, edges. Edges are often sharp. But when we proceed with care, like when we learn to cut paper with scissors, are we sure to get hurt?
Ultimately, if you are unhappy with the boundaries you are accepting, then the only thing that you can do to change the situation is to communicate your limits.
While there’s always a risk, edges don’t guarantee bad outcomes. The edge of a lake is an easy entrance for a bather. The edge of a mountain presents breathtaking views.
Enforce your boundaries.
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.”
- Brene Brown