“Good fences make good neighbors.”
“Love your neighbor; yet don’t pull down your hedge.”
"You get what you tolerate."
"Boundaries are a part of self-care. They are healthy, normal, and necessary.”
"Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment."
"Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others."
"You have the right to say 'no' without feeling guilty."
-Manual J. Smith
Even though it sounds simple, setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries takes a lot of wisdom
This is especially true with our relationships that mean the most to us: our family (especially children and parents), our romantic partner, and our friends. Having good boundaries can also be an issue with bosses, reports, partners, colleagues, and other business relationships.
Personally, I still had problems setting appropriate boundaries with intimate relationships up until I was 53 years old.
Why is the boundary issue so problematic for many of us?
#1 problem: we'll feel guilty (these reasons are not in any particular order)
The title of Manual J. Smith's best-selling book, "When I Say No, I Feel Guilty" says it well. And the fundamental reason we feel guilty is because we've accepted the basic ethical, religious, and societal messages that we should put others before ourselves. That ethics makes it impossible to create and maintain good boundaries with others. That's why creating Oneself-Others integrity (see the OOI toolkit) is fundamental to being able to know how to create appropriate boundaries with others.
#2 problem: we're trying to prove something
For me, my identity was attached to "being a good guy" or to "being a loving husband." When you're trying to prove something (you're a "good person," a "fair person," a "kind person," a "tolerant person,"...), then creating good boundaries with others where you're taking care of yourself (and even the relationship, especially long-term) easily becomes secondary.
A client recently told me that his nine-year-old granddaughter, who's living with him and his wife, lost/misplaced her smart watch. Rather impetuously he told her, "There's no TV for you until you've found your smart watch." Later that evening he was feeling guilty for having putting his foot down so hard and his granddaughter begged him to let her watch a show with him. He acquiesced.
#4 problem: we don't know how to set boundaries in a respectful and non-defensive way
#5 problem: we're attached to being with someone or frightened we'll lose something
#6 problem: we haven't developed the skills that are more likely to result in creating and maintaining the best boundaries, not only for you, but also for others with you
This link is a work in progress...to be continued soon...
Good boundaries: the basics