Boundaries

Boundaries: unofficial rules about what should not be done : limits that define acceptable behavior

What comes to mind with this word or definition? Personally, the word boundary, made me think of the the border that separates two countries. An imaginary line on a map that defines where one nationality ends and another begins. Never before did I think this word could also apply to people!

Yet boundaries, are essential for all of us to have if we are to be emotionally stable. What makes them so necessary? Well, imagine living in a house in a neighborhood that has a high crime rate, and none of your windows or doors have locks! Thieves catch on to this fact and brake in to steal. If it was easy to get in the first time around, chances are they’ll be back, right?

Why do we let others “brake in”, so to speak and wreak havoc and steal, into our lives? Maybe we weren’t taught how to establish boundaries to protect ourselves. This begins at a young age. It starts with respect. Respect for the belongings of others and our own. It includes their feelings, beliefs and body. Many times children aren’t respected by adults, but they are expected give respect in return. How ironic and backwards is this?

How frustrating it must be for them to see adults demanding, what they can’t give in return! No doubt it’s a multi generational, multi cultural way of dealing with children. I myself felt this frustration. When did I cross over to join the senseless adults? We live at a time when information and education is so abundant and accessible, that we have no excuse to be ignorant of the consequences! We also live at a time when respect is little more than a word, everyone wants it but no one wants to give it! So how do we make it up to our kids? How do we teach them?

It begins with learning boundaries yourself. You can’t teach anyone what you yourself don’t know! A boundary is not a wall meant to keep everyone away. It involves you approving of who will come into your personal space, and who won’t. Will they respect your rules? How about your beliefs? Will they be considerate of how they treat your belongings? What about how they treat your family? If there is someone close to you who doesn’t show any such respect, it’s time to start working on that protective boundary.

With our kids, it begins with teaching them the word no. The worst thing we can do is not allow them to tell us no. I’m not talking about when it comes to doing chores or homework (that’s a whole other article!). It’s about when they are scared and nervous, yet we push them. What’s our rush, can’t we wait ’til they feel reassured? Or when we push them to do what they don’t want. Maybe they’re more artistic than athletic, yet we force them into sports. What about with food, do we try to force them to eat? When another adult tells you no, don’t you respect it? Don’t we owe that to our kids? What we want to avoid is raising children who can’t say no to adults for fear of displeasing. Think of how easy we would make it for the wrong people to approach our children if we fail in this area.

You can compare the world we live in to that high crime neighborhood. We can’t move out of our house, but we can make it secure. It not only requires locks but an alarm system too. Is what you have inside your house not worth all the effort? Family is not replaceable, and once damaged takes years to recover.

I write this with the hope that it will move you to educate yourself more about this subject and its importance. Knowledge is powerful when it helps us to improve ourselves and the lives of others.

Love you guys ; )

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Going in circles

I had a very interesting conversation with my husband a couple weeks ago. We’ve had several over the course of my counseling sessions, and me working through my depression. He tries to understand the scope of it and why it took so long for me to realize what he’s known all along, “it’s all in my mind” (this has been my case, it’s not a chemical imbalance).

It’s very hard for a person who doesn’t have depression, or ever suffered from it, to relate to someone who does. That is our situation. While we were talking, and I was trying to explain to him how people can lose themselves in depression, I had an aha moment. I compared the pattern of thinking to going around in circles. You are so distracted though, that you don’t even realize it. It made me think of a roundabout (thus the reason for the picture). Imagine driving into this circle feeling confused. It’s something new. The traffic is heavy and you end up in the inner circle. You fail to notice this because you’re busy with something else: your phone, the radio, your kids in the backseat, that throbbing headache, or all of these! Whatever it was, you suddenly realize that you’ve been going in circles.

slough roundabout

So how does a driver come out of that roundabout? He needs to be focused & alert. He also needs to know where he’s going so he can take the appropriate exit. Likewise, to come out of my cycle of negative thinking I had to focus. I knew where my exit was, but I didn’t know why I kept missing it. I hadn’t realized there was a mountain of things blocking that exit! The majority of these were neglected issues covered with deep denial.

What triggers the negative thinking in you? Is it trauma, unfulfilled expectations, a failed relationship, or comparing ourselves to others and falling short? We need to deal with these first. Avoiding the issues in life hasn’t worked! If the help of a professional is needed don’t hesitate.

Who we choose to surround ourselves with also, can either help or hinder the process of getting better. You can replace the negative thoughts with positive ones, but if your best friend(s), or relatives are negative and bring you down, you need to step back and seek out those who will build you up and encourage you (what’s more important here, your sanity or their temporary upset?). Positive people are the ones who will help us focus on our good qualities when we overlook them. This doesn’t mean they are enablers. When they see a character trait or conduct that will lead you in the wrong direction, they will let you know. I call these people mentors. Some call them role models. These are the ones who are gonna help you move in the right direction, and are some of the most wonderful people out there! They do this out of a sincere interest in others and because they genuinely care. No doubt you already know someone that fits this description, and if you’re fortunate, you know more than one!

So where do you wanna go? Forward? Or in circles?

Love you guys ; )