Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries!
There is an old etiquette rule my mom used to say to me when we ate soup. The “rule” is to bring the spoon up to your mouth instead of leaning over the bowl while eating. My mom would say “bring the soup to you not you to the soup.” The same “rule” applies to boundaries. People in your life move to honor your boundaries. You don’t move your boundaries to fit the other person. If we start moving our boundary so it accommodates everyone around us what was the point of the boundary? If you are operating this way you are operating WITHOUT boundaries.
What is a boundary in interpersonal relationships? A boundary is a clear and purposeful line that you create to let people into your life, and your world, safely. Every person will create their personal boundaries differently and you may have different boundaries for different people. The important part isn’t where the line is drawn, it is that YOU create and honor the line for what works in YOUR life.
How do I keep boundaries? Creating boundaries using your natural wisdom and awareness of your desires is important. It isn’t useful to arbitrarily create a boundary because it seems to be what works for your Auntie Marie or your best friend. Knowing where YOU want interactions and connections to start and stop will assist you in creating boundaries that work!
Boundaries need to be consistent! This piece is painfully true. If you walk the earth unaware of your boundaries and reactively create them from interaction to interaction you will live a life of chaos and drama. Before you go into a situation your boundaries should be created. Using YOUR wisdom to shift them if they deserve shifting, but knowing what they are in the first place is mission critical! If you know what they are you are more likely to keep the boundary.
Another part of learning to be consistent with your boundaries is trusting YOUR gut. If you are in a relationship with someone and you repeatedly see that your boundaries are being pushed or disrespected, that is a warning that this person may not be a good fit in your life. Think about it. If you met a new friend and you went to hug them and they said “no thank you. I am not a hugger.” Would you attempt to hug them 5 minutes later? No Way, right? That would feel icky! When a person isn’t respectful of your boundaries you get to make a choice on what you do with that relationship. You can choose to shift or strengthen your boundaries to keep the relationships less intimate until the person learns your boundaries and respects them with clarity. Another choice could be to opt out of having this person engaging with your boundaries. The choices in a situation of your boundaries being pushed are about what level of connection you will be creating in this relationship or, if the relationship will continue/grow. NOT how much integrity can I take out of my boundaries so this other person fits into my life.
One option is bringing the soup to you. The other is moving to the soup.