Boundaries - Which Ones Are Right For You?
Boundaries are kind of like your filtration system, you only allow in what’s healthy for you, as opposed to walls which keep everyone out.
So, how do you determine your boundaries? First of all, don’t confuse boundaries with walls. Walls are put up to keep everyone out. Walls are built so literally no one can get close to you. Boundaries, on the other hand, keep some people out. They are kind of like your filtration system, you only allow in what’s healthy for you.
Types of Boundaries
Boundaries come in all shapes and sizes. Some are personal and for you alone while others are for use with other people. A personal boundary might be something like “I only have 2 drinks at work events, and only 1 if there is no meal offered.” A personal boundary like this may be set because you want to maintain a professional demeanor and you know that more alcohol doesn’t help that. Another personal boundary could be, “I don’t jump out of perfectly good airplanes.”
A boundary for use with others limits access to your life, headspace, and/or free time. Those might be something like, “I don’t answer my work email past 6 PM on week night and not at all on weekends because I know I’m at my best at both home and work when I protect my free time.” Another could be, “I am not friends with anyone on social media that I have not met in person.”
You Gotta Know When to Hold ‘Em and Know When to Fold ‘Em
Once you set a boundary, you’re stuck with it for life, right? No. You can redefine as needed. Some boundaries are set up for a season of life but can be relaxed or eliminated later on when you choose. An example of that is, “We don’t allow anyone in the house who’s not a family member.” Another could be, “We only leave the house when we need essential supplies.” During a pandemic with increasing numbers, these boundaries protect our health and safety by limiting our exposure to others. However, once the pandemic is over, they won’t be needed. It will once again be OK, and even advisable, to have people over to your house regularly to build or strengthen social connections in person. You’ll head out once again for fun adventures and just because.
What if you failed to set or hold a boundary a some point in the past and you are paying for it now? Is it too late? NO. You may set any boundary you need to in order to prosper in a life aligned with your values.
With your core values in hand, what boundaries do you want to set to honor them? Do you value health and safety about all else? How about balance, free time, achievement? Knowing what’s important to you will help you determine what boundaries to set in order to create time and space in your life to honor those values.