Last week I posted about being vulnerable in friendships and the other day I wrote about loving fearlessly. Both of those posts are reflections of me recognizing good boundaries. For many reasons, I have not always been good at drawing good boundaries in my relationships.
When do I say no? If I say no, will they still be my friend? If I say yes, will they take advantage of me? Is saying yes now an open door to saying yes in the future? Isn’t that what forgiveness in marriage is? How do you tell your parents no in a respectful way? What about honoring them? What does that look like?
Boundaries are good. They keep you healthy. They keep you sane. They help you flourish and focus on what matters. I’ve learned that healthy boundaries are absolutely essential for my overall health. I’ve learned to define expectations better and to express those to the people around me.
So what does setting healthy boundaries look like in real life?
These are a few things I’ve learned:
- It’s okay to state my needs. It’s not selfish. It’s healthy.
- I can say “no” without guilt and without an explanation.
- It’s okay to distance those who continually disrespect me.
- By not engaging in the negative talk, I am not enabling the cycle to continue.
- I’m loving myself and my family by sticking to the boundaries I set.
- “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” ~ Matthew 7:6
This last point was an “aha” moment for me. As a Christian, aren’t I supposed to be kind to all? To love everyone? Yes. However, this verse was very freeing for me. It meant to me that I no longer have to or even should be laying out all the precious treasures of my heart to people who don’t hold those sacred. I can love people and be kind to them without giving them the ammunition and ability to hurt me. I can love at a distance if I need to. I should withhold what is sacred from people who will not value it.
I’m becoming a stronger, more confident person as I learn about boundaries and how they are designed to keep me healthy.