What’s At The Heart of Healthy Boundaries? One Simple Thing
The Heart Of Healthy Boundaries
If I could sum up the heart of healthy boundaries in one sentence, it’s pretty simple really…
It means knowing who you are.
Gerard Manley Hopkins says this about boundaries:
“Your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choices.”
But in order to protect your identity and your choices, you first need to know who you are! Otherwise, you don’t know why you’re saying “yes” or “no”.
Reaching My Limits
Recently, I spent a full day at a beautiful children’s museum with my daughter and grandchildren who are seven, four and one. By the end of the day, I was exhausted.
However, before we went home, my daughter had one last stop…
(Of course, everybody needs to stop at Costco before leaving Moncton and going back to the island.)
My daughter saw my fatigue, so she suggested that I stay in the car with the kids while she went in to shop. But she immediately hit my wall of exhaustion and I’m sure she felt my resistance.
I had reached my limit.
Finding A Solution To My Limits
As soon as she said that, my mind went to the worst case scenario…
The baby will cry. I will need to get all the kids out of the car and into Costco. Or I will sit in the car with a crying baby and two other kids that will be unhappy with the crying baby.
And I thought, “I can’t do this.” Instead, I suggested, “Why don’t we all go in?”
But she said, “It will be quicker if I go in without the kids.”
I thought, “I want to be sane when you get back.”
She quickly noticed the problem and put her problem-solving hat on and said, “I can take the baby and the older kids can stay with you.”
My boundary was that I couldn’t stay in the car with all the kids at that moment of exhaustion.
Our Humanness Is Like A Jar Of Clay
But the problem isn’t that we’re human or that we have limits. The real problem is that we don’t always accept our humanness or live within those limits.
The Bible talks about how we live in jars of clay. Think about clay jars… they’re fragile. If you drop them they break.
Our humanness is fragile too. Drop us and we break.
This is what happens when we don’t look after our needs, whether that’s self-care, rest, food, space or relationships… when we don’t look after our needs then we become fragile and we break.
And when we consistently live beyond the limits of our humanness, that’s when we get into trouble. Because crossing that boundary causes us to lose ourselves.
A Change Of Mindset Helps Us Change Our Boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries is a challenge for all of us. And during different seasons in life, our needs will change and the boundaries we set will be constantly changing.
So developing healthy boundaries means that we practice saying “yes” and “no” recognizing the limits we have and living within those limits.
If you struggle to know yourself and what you need, try downloading our 7-Day Clarity Journal. It will help you understand yourself better so you can set more healthy boundaries with the people around you.
Use it over the next seven days and see if it will help you to gain clarity about your inner world so you can deal with your outer world.
What do you think is the most important part of boundaries? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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