If you look at a map, they show walls, fences, land or trees, show where their land ends and another person’s land begins. If we didn’t have these distinctions, it would lead to countless arguments and possibly violence. If you cut your grass, but your neighbor neglects his grass, you want to be sure that the state knows who to give the fine to. Boundaries are a necessary part of life because they set expectations.
It seems so logical, but so many people have a hard time setting boundaries. I have been one of them. I have been a people-pleaser. I would allow you to step all over my boundaries and I would step all over my own boundaries. It was all in an effort to get love. When I didn’t receive the love I thought I would, I was resentful. Eventually, I learned that I have to set my own boundaries. I have to tell you what you can and can’t do that will frustrate and annoy me. I had to value my discomfort over yours. The reason is because you didn’t even know that I would continue to hate you for my discomfort for years after you unknowingly hurt me. I was like a volcano. Anger was bubbling beneath the surface for years before I erupted and slaughtered your entire village.
We all have rules of how we expect to give and return love. There are many that we don’t even know exist that act within the background of our lives, but make us silently curse each other out. It is also difficult to expect the person that you love to know and live by your hidden rules and agendas. Most people can’t and won’t, so you will find yourself alone. I will give an example. I am someone that can’t stand when people don’t show up when they say the will. My friends and family hardly ever live by this rule. I find myself constantly annoyed. What I have learned through self-reflection is that the need for people to be on-time is deeply rooted in my issue with abandonment. I went through several moments where someone I loved didn’t show up for me or show up at all, so I have trust issues around it. It results in me having an overreaction with my family and friends over when they will show up. Now, that I am aware of it, I can be a bit more relaxed, but I have also set a boundary. It is unacceptable to me for someone to just not show up. To me, that means that you don’t love me. If you love me, you either have to show up or reschedule. I choose not to feel that pain.
When you sacrifice yourself for others, you make them a thief. Because you are making them steal from you what you are unable to give.- Iyanla Vanzant
Boundaries are not about being mean or creating rules for no reason. It is about not re-injuring someone, not being in pain or telling someone exactly what you can deal with. You just have to be sure that your boundaries aren’t too crazy or impossible. You have to account that the other person has their own boundaries and issues. You can’t be too rigid. Build your boundaries with the person that you love. But, don’t set up the person to fail. Give them boundaries and give them the opportunity to live within them. If not, they are guaranteed to fail and so are you. What are your rules? Can you tell the person how to succeed with your rather than continue to be disappointed? This will also help you rid your inner circle of people that constantly step all over your boundaries and replace them with people that love and respect your needs.