Boundaries – Too Close or Too Far?

In the Women’s Group, we continue exploring boundaries. Everyone can benefit from looking at their boundaries… some of us could say “yes” more and let people closer, while others of us could benefit from saying “no” more and take more space for ourselves. Looking at our boundaries requires us to consider who we are and what we want.

Many of us live in denial of who we truly are
because we fear losing someone or something
and there are times
that if we don’t rock the boat,
too often the one we lose is ourselves.
It feels good to be
accepted, loved, and approved of by others,
but often the membership fee
to belong to that club
is far too high of a price to pay.
― Dennis Merritt Jones

When we don’t protect our boundaries we can lose ourselves in our connections. Depending on how we defend our boundaries, we may also lose our connections. In your next difficult situation, I invite you to notice…

What feels like it fits for you? Also, how do you react when other’s do not respect your boundaries?

Without judging your reaction as good or bad, see if you can recognize and name why and how you react? Do you feel resentful, tired, guilty, lonely, misunderstood and/or disconnected? Do you explode, withdraw, become cranky, lecture or become overly nice? Sometimes the consequences of our reactions backfire on us:

We try so hard to make ourselves lovable,
and yet each layer of this mask
puts another wall around us –
a wall that keeps love out.
― Vironika Tugaleva

We might set our boundaries too strongly pushing others away, or override our own boundaries so that we lose ourselves.

Honoring your own boundaries is the clearest message to others to honor them, too. ― Gina Greenlee

I invite you to consider… How would you like to honor your boundaries? See if you can explore and try out different options in different situations. Which one fits and works best for you and in your situation? Humor, sarcasm, a direct no, subtle redirecting, stepping forward, stepping back, non-verbals, alone or with the help of others…?

Also, consider expanding your definition of what “works.” Workablity could be based on if your actions connect you with your values in a way that is respectful to yourself. So something can be “workable” even if …others may not like your boundaries; when it is uncomfortable for you and others, and maybe even when initially your needs may not be met.

Daring to to explore what you want and how you want to protect your boundaries takes courage and practice. The first attempts may not be so pretty or lead to the results you intended. Still, can you have compassion and patience for yourself and others if it is a bit rocky and imperfect?

Exploring and growing in how we set and take care of our boundaries is an ever evolving process… for us… and those with whom we interact.