What are boundaries and why are they healthy?
What is a boundary? According to this graphic (which I found on Facebook and have NO idea who created it), a boundary is a definite place where your responsibility ends and another person’s begins. Having boundaries stops you from doing things for others that they should be doing for themselves.
As a mom, I feel like I need to be reminded of this rule of boundaries from time to time. Basically, I tend to do things for my son that he is perfectly capable of doing himself. I know I do it. I know I shouldn’t because every time I do, I interfere with his learning to be self-sufficient. But it’s really hard because my impulse as his mom is to help. I just have to remember that sometimes I help, by not helping.
This is especially true when we are dealing with difficult people who are self-destructing. Our compassionate impulse to help has to be tempered by our understanding that sometimes we help most, by not helping. People have to have consequences to learn, otherwise they don’t learn.
The problem, as always, is knowing when to give assistance and when to withhold and where exactly to draw that boundary where your responsibility ends and the other begins. This is especially important when the relationship in question is emotionally draining. When that happens, I have to remind myself that ultimately, I can’t control the actions of other people. I can only control my own. That is where the boundary lies. As soon as I stop trying to get the other person to behave a certain way, my stress levels lesson and I find I can behave better and act in a way that benefits both of us.
How about you? Do you struggle with boundaries? How do you find the courage to draw boundaries with other people?