The number one thing with boundaries, is communication. I cannot just assume that you know what my boundaries are, just because it appears obvious to me. Let us remember that we all live in our own dream, our own bubble, and the truth that I have found is that people are usually not paying as much attention to me as I think they are!
I used to assume that when someone crossed a boundary, that they had done it on purpose. This means that I would become angry right off the bat. I would either retaliate out of anger, usually surprising someone, or I wouldn’t say a word. I’d just go off and nurse my new grudge for as much as I could get out of it.
However, when I began to approach things from a different angle, “Maybe he/she is not aware that they are crossing a boundary”, I was able to then work on communicating.
“I need to talk with you about something.” is a great way to start. If you feel that it is a sensitive situation, you can just say, “I need to speak with you about something and it may be sensitive.”
We don’t want to say things like, “You made me feel used”, or “You made me feel angry” because we know that other people are not in charge of our feelings. Right? We are in charge of our feelings, and that is what having and enforcing boundaries is all about.
Many times I found that people just didn’t know. They would apologize and I’d say, “Thank you but no need to apologize, I just want you to know how I feel.”
Sometimes you may encounter a situation in which you are met head on. Your boundaries may not be okay with the other person. This is when we have to remember that other people have boundaries too. Sometimes I just don’t gel with a particular person, and that is okay. In this case you can sometimes compromise, but sometimes some different arrangements need to be made.
Let me say that I have lasting and strong relationships with people who I disagree with. We compromise. We “agree to be disagreeable”. In other words, just because I disagree with someone, does not mean that they need to be terminated from my life. I’ve always been one of those people who thought, “The world would really suck if everyone wore the same clothes, and ate the same food, and listened to the same music, etc…” I don’t want to live in a world of clones, so why should I insist that anyone be like me? I’d rather you be like you. I’d rather we appreciate our differences and have respect for one another.
Then there are those people who I love from a distance. There are those who’s behavior is not the kind of behavior that I choose to have around me. There are times when there can be no compromise. I sometimes make a decision that a person and myself will be much better off apart.
At this point I often re-visit my boundaries. Is what I am asking for unreasonable? Is what I’m asking for unfair or impractical? I will usually talk with my spiritual advisor or someone who I know uses good judgement. I don’t want someone who I know will side with me, I need someone who can be impartial. If in the end, I find that my boundaries are reasonable and fair, then I have to do something about the situation.
This can be a difficult time either with a relationship or with a job. Sometimes we allow people to cross our boundaries over and over again, because we for some reason just cannot let go. We question ourselves, we fear that there won’t be another relationship or job, and we remain in an uncomfortable situation. Then we cannot figure out why we are having anxiety and stress, and possibly even making ourselves sick.
I place no judgement on anyone, because I myself have hung on to things for dear life, that were really hurting me. I know how it is both with relationships and with a job situation. You hope things get better, you hope things will change, you have your good days and your bad days, but the entire situation is just wrong all around to begin with. When it does finally happen and the situation comes to an end, there is the painful part, but there is also the wonderful part of being free. And let’s face it, we may feel so strongly that “there will never be another one as good”, it wasn’t really all that good. And there is always another one.
It came to me to say that I don’t have hardly any boundaries anymore, and I guess that this is partially true, but then again, I am not really close to many people. My focus though, is not on “who I don’t hang out with” or “where I don’t go” or “what is unacceptable to me”. My focus is on who I do spend time with, where I do go, and on what I enjoy. I know the kind of people I want around me, I know where I want to spend my time, and I know how I want to spend my time, so this is just simply what I do.
This is because at a certain point, you just know yourself and what you want, and so it is never an issue. If someone hands me something and tells me it is blue, but I can clearly see that it is green, I just smile and go on about my business. Elsewhere.
Many blessings to you!