By Lori Lines
In my last full article, I mentioned how important asserting Boundaries are, especially when we are going through the Dark Night of the Soul. I also thought writing an article to expound on the importance of boundaries in our lives, in general, is warranted because this seems to be an issue many share with me as part of taking responsibility for ourselves when relationship issues come up.
Having just passed the holiday season, many of us know the frustration, anxiety, and grief resulting from feeling overextended, especially when we are unable to say no. Your aunt can’t wait to receive her box of your famous fudge, the kids don’t understand, while Santa has an unlimited budget you don’t. Perhaps your partner expects you to buy the gift for their office secret Santa party, as if you already don’t have so much to do. It can all feel like too much!
Of course, frustrations like these are not limited to the holiday season. Feeling stretched too thin, shouldering too many demands and responsibilities, and having your needs sidestepped can happen year-round. We often find ourselves in these situations, asking, “why do people treat me this way,” or “what gives them the right?" Often, the reality is we do!
Boundaries are an essential part of self-care, self-love, and harmonious relationships. They are the limitations and restrictions we establish within our interpersonal connections, designating responsibility and defining matters of respect. We often fail to instill and uphold boundaries because we fear we will anger, frustrate or alienate others.
Boundaries define expectations and agreements within your romantic relationships. For instance, some couples agree talking to exes is out of the question, while some determine socializing with single friends can compromise the connection. Just as you set physical boundaries in the closet, “your side and mine,” you can even set boundaries in the bedroom.
Friends and family relationships also call for healthy boundaries. No drop-ins without notice, a refusal to have your relationship or parenting criticized, or perhaps no forced interactions with another friend or family member that triggers discomfort or trauma.
You can also improve your work-life when instilling boundaries with bosses and coworkers, whether they are permanently enforced, no calls after hours, or temporary, no last-minute projects during the holidays.
Remember, boundaries are a necessary, important part of interpersonal functioning and entail whatever limitations preserve our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health that protect your wellbeing.
Think about the boundaries you place on yourself. You may have a bedtime, a workout routine, work deadlines, and even limitations on your tv and social media time. They are focal to your productivity, vitality, and mental health. It happens that you may spend too long on your smartphone, skip the gym for a few days, or stay up too late. When this happens, you re-center, refocus, and re-establish your personal boundaries because, without them, your life would be rather chaotic!
The same applies to your external relationships. Boundaries provide much-needed structure and balance, yet they can be overstepped, challenged, or altogether disregarded. Accountability is crucial to maintain boundaries. When a boundary is violated, it should be voiced. Left unchecked, it will be crossed time and time again, harming the relationship, your self-worth, and wellbeing.
Failure to inform someone that they have crossed a boundary also robs them of the opportunity to heal, grow, and self-actualize. By acknowledging that a boundary has been crossed, you reinforce your own value system and worth, but you also give the person, who overstepped, the chance to explore themselves. What made them think this was okay? Did the boundary make them feel insecure, angry, hurt?
While healthy boundaries mean you are not obligated to help them in this exploratory, they can learn a great deal about themselves and their own boundaries by being held accountable.
There are times when people refuse to honor your boundaries. Keeping these people at an emotional and spiritual distance is needed. Through the act of distancing yourself, you enable them to gain a great deal of insight and growth, even if it takes time, when they are ready to take responsibility to look within themselves.
People often reject boundaries because they view them as repressive and restrictive. When, in fact, they foster a completely different energy. When you set and uphold boundaries, there is freedom! Like a child who knows the limits of safe play, we are free to be more fully ourselves when we share healthy boundaries. We can be open, honest, and vulnerable without feeling guarded, resentful, or fake.
Setting, respecting, and maintaining boundaries is an act of love. Boundaries promote self-love and unity. They enable you to better love yourself, teach others to better love themselves, and foster a sense of harmony and trust in your relationships. Anyone who wants to be in your life will come to embrace your boundaries because boundaries say, “I want you to love me, and I want to love you….here’s how”, what a beautiful opportunity!
In love and truth,
Author Lori Lines
Disclaimer: Lori is a high-level channel. The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.