Boundaries is one of those topics that people kind of dance awkwardly around until someone finally decides to actually acknowledge it. No one likes boundaries but then when they’re in place, you realize they’re a lot more beneficial than detrimental! I’ve always felt like boundaries are necessary for every relationship you have; not a single soul should be allowed to run amuck in your life, wreaking havoc.
A boundary is defined as being “a limit of a subject or sphere of activity.” For a very long time in my friendships (ESPECIALLY) and intimate relationships, I was the more compromising person. I was looked at as too nice or as a pushover and, honestly, I knew I was! I sucked at saying no or standing up for myself. I let everybody treat me any type of way and would almost ALWAYS forgive them or even worse— APOLOGIZE WHEN I WASN’T WRONG! Foolishness!
I didn’t start practicing boundaries until after I got out of an unhealthy relationship. I’d allowed him to get away with so many things just off the strength of “love.” After he put his hands on me, I realized then that I can’t do that anymore. No amount of “love” can ever make that okay or forgivable. I started making mental notes of everything from that relationship that I DON’T want in any relationship, friendships, and all.
When I met my husband, he didn’t know there was no room for error. I’m sure he felt the pressure, but he never just KNEW. I’m sure he thought that was just me as a person, so he moved right along with whatever I required. I started thinking of all the small things I missed out on or shouldn’t have allowed in the past and implemented all of it.
“My feelings will not be ignored. They are valid,” was something I always told myself (and I still do!) I remember the first time Jalen validated my feelings. I was concerned about some girl constantly trying to get him to take her on a date after he’d already told her we were dating. He and I were on a lunch date and I told him I was uncomfortable with her still having access to him. At that very moment, he gave me his phone and said, “Block her for me.”
I stared at him as he casually chewed his food, completely at ease. I was shocked. I didn’t have to plead my case nor did I have to repeat it. I just knew in my heart of hearts setting boundaries was going to be like pulling teeth but no… he made it so simple. He understood my discomfort and offered a solution. I felt a different type of power—CONFIDENCE— that I’d never felt. I knew then that I was definitely going to continue drawing subtle lines in the sand until I created a safe space for myself and I was going to do this unapologetically.
Please understand, boundaries in any of your relationships set the tone for everything that comes after. My older brother always told me people do what you ALLOW. In high school, that never registered to me. As an adult, I’m forever grateful my brother continued to tell me this, no matter how annoyed he was of his little sister getting walked over. He never let me forget, so thank you Kalem.
Even now that we’re married, we still create boundaries, and they’re in different areas. We are ever-evolving creatures. What we needed two years ago may not be what we need today and that’s okay! However, because of that, we have to be unafraid to let someone know, ”Hey, I appreciate your efforts in this area. However, I no longer need assistance in this area and would like for you to direct your efforts elsewhere.” Whatever that elsewhere is, LET THEM KNOW. Don’t you dare inconvenience yourself for someone else’s comfort!
Boundaries are not rejection; boundaries are protection.
Don’t forget, you can place boundaries with your friends too! I had to realize, I’m not a bad friend for not letting a friend say rude things to me. As much of a good time I love to have, I will not allow any form of shade or disrespect to prosper for the sake of not ruining the fun. I’m not saying knock everything over, but definitely correct the issue when it comes up. Don’t let it fester!
I’ve also had my fair share of friends getting way too comfortable in MY comfort zone. Like, not only did you make yourself at home, you also ate off all my dishes and didn’t wash them, used all the toilet tissue, and let flies in! I’ve had to push my friends out of my personal comfort zone and let them know, “This is my place. That is your place. Respect the differences of our spaces, please.” It probably hurt their feelings in the beginning, but those who chose to respect the difference have a better bond with me now. Those who could not respect it, no longer have access to me.
Those who are upset with your creation of boundaries benefit from your lack of them.
Boundaries are a form of self-care. Take care of yourself. Do YOU a favor and create an environment where you feel respected, cared for, and safe. There’s no easier way to ensure that than what? BOUNDARIES! You deserve to have your needs met in every corner of your life. Do not allow disrespect, fear, negligence, abuse, or WHOEVER to plant seeds in your garden from which one can consume. Clear your garden of those weeds and put a fence around your beautiful plants. Continue to water & grow them in good health.