What's all this chat about boundaries?

What's all this chat about boundaries?

What's all this chat about boundaries?

We know you have heard it. The ubiquitous discussion among friends.

" You need to have boundaries!"- she tells.

"They have to respect my boundaries"- we say.

Yet what the heck on earth are freakin' boundaries? Phrases cycle into our society every few months. The idea of boundaries has been a theme in western social discourse for the last few years. Much like the idea of  'pushing buttons' that became important in the nineties, 'boundaries' has become a throw-it-around phrase you cant seem to go a day without hearing.

The confusion of boundaries lies, ironically, within it's blurry confines. The idea is systemic to all human beings. Having actual boundaries is defined by having a set of personal guidelines and rules that you decide upon for the purpose of communicating to others what your limits are ( these interactions may be in-person, online, professionally, sexually ... you name the place. Its anywhere you occupy space with another human).

The problem is that over-using the phrase has transformed it into an empty pop-culture word. Saying " I have to work on boundaries", is like saying "I have no idea what went wrong." Boundaries must be communicated and identifiable, like a fence you see around a property,

Sometimes it helps to understand something, by looking at  what it is not-

- Boundaries are not someone else's decision, they are your own limits

- Boundaries are not assumed, they must be easily identifiable and communicated

- Boundaries are not set in stone, they are dynamic and change with different people in different contexts.

- Boundaries are not an excuse to withdraw, they are an invitation to understanding each other.

- Boundaries do not punish, they allow grace as we learn each other's ways.

- Boundaries are not walls you cant see through, they are fences with gates you can open and close.

- Boundaries don't come from fear or guarded personality, they come from a place of being vulnerable about who you are and what you need.

And just to reiterate, boundaries are not someone else's responsibility, they are our own. Other people don't know what our limits are until they get there, when they do, they learn and we learn. Approaching them with grace is the only way we can ensure we wont all end up walking on egg-shells with constant uncertainty or fear of offense.

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