Boundaries; Defining them, setting them, respecting them. NONE of it was my forte!
It felt incredibly limiting. At the time, I’m not sure who I was afraid to limit, you or me. I can now say, that at the very root of that fear, was that if I told you NO… you might not like me. That IF I wasn’t everything to everybody, I wasn’t enough… good enough, worthy enough, loveable enough.
From the outset, boundaries doesn’t necessarily sound like a good thing.
1. No one wants to be told NO or be told what to do. And was I really worthy of that respect? And was I willing to pay the price of self-ownership, if that price was you not loving me?
2. And what about ME being FREE spirit, a law unto my very own?!?! Wouldn’t boundaries, force me to stay penned up in one place!
I had no evidence to back up any of these suspicions, these fears, however every inch of my mind, body and heart was feeling, that my fearful feelings were truth. When I start to blur feelings with facts, I’m usually half way down the wrong road of decision making. I know this today, as one of my personal ‘red light indicators’, like the hazard lights on a car blinking frantically into the night, that something has broken down in my thinking.
I also, wasn’t sure why I would want to keep people away.
In dating, I was having a hard enough time meeting ANYONE… the concept of narrowing what already felt like a bottle neck, was terrifying. Wouldn’t I be ‘putting Baby in the corner’??
In my relationships, the idea of laying in boundaries, felt like fencing off connection… and I desperately wanted and needed human connection.
What I was missing???
Boundaries are not about other people, boundaries are about me.
BOUNDARIES AREN’T FORTIFIED DEFENSIVE WALLS WE PUT UP TO KEEP PEOPLE OUT… BOUNDARIES ARE THE WAY WE RING FENCE OUR OWN SPACE SO WE HAVE THE ROOM TO BREATHE, GROW AND BE HAPPY!
The metaphor I use with clients, is that of owning a horse.
How many acres does your paddock have to be to have a horse? And two horses? Three or four horses? If we place two horses in a paddock sized for one… what will happen? The horses will not have enough room to exercise, enough food to sustain them, sickness will be more likely to spread from horse to horse, in such closed quarters. You will wind up with two very unhealthy, unfulfilled and unhappy horses.
Instead of thinking of boundaries as the fences that keep people way, grab on to this concept that boundaries are about creating the space YOU and YOUR partner needs to be healthy, fulfilled and happy!
When we do not create firm boundaries, and willingly kick down the paddock fences to let every Tom, Dick and Jane come on through… we compromise the respect people will have for us. If you want a relationship, and the person you just started seeing, says they do not, they prefer casual… IF you don’t hold your boundary, (ahem, in hopes that somewhere down the line, they will hopefully, possibly maybe want more) guess what? They are way more likely to NEVER want more than casual with you! Human phycology has shown us, that when we break from the structure of our offer… in love, sales, business, family… we cheapen the product by default. We subtract value from ourselves in the other person’s eyes. In order to commit and LOVE someone, truly, people have to know it’s worthy.
If someone we just started to date, wants to start calling us girlfriend or boyfriend after just a few dates, it can be very tempting to hop right on that! However, going back to the paddock, its key that you both define the term. To create a paddock that is the right size for you both to grow into a healthy relationship.
Oof, where to begin? People inherently treat us, as we instruct them to. If our instructions, our boundaries are unclear or unstable, our partners have no idea how to ‘get it right’.
If we are running around, trying to be THE BEST, wife, husband, mother, daughter, son, employee, football coach, pinterest worthy cake baker, INSTA famous interior designer, friend, lover, holiday planner, yogi, all while maintaining our place on the ‘best dressed’ list at the school runs… YIKES!
Boundaries can also look like us truly reconciling our assets and limitations, and leaning into being PERFECTLY IMPERFECT. Boundaries mean we create a paddock where WE can thrive, as well as all of our relationships too!
So, boundaries as defensive walls? NO.
Boundaries as the ring fenced space for you to thrive, with all you need to be happy healthy and free? HECK YES!
What's does your paddock look like? xx