Article on Setting Clear Boundaries – Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
I found this excellent article on LinkedIn and felt led to share it here. I literally jumped up and down when I read it because the author here, Coach, Heather Autumn Torok, MSW is speaking my language. The language of boundaries. Hopefully, this is a language that will resonate with you as well.
Life, Love, & Leadership Coach, Speaker, Culture-Changer, Hena Autumn Torok specializes in helping you find your unique purpose and get VICTORY over what’s holding you back!
You hear a lot about “boundaries,” but few people really understand how to use them without feeling MEAN and selfish. In fact, many people are of the misconception that boundaries aren’t biblical and are a new concept. How would you feel if I told you that not everyone should be able to access you 24/7 at their beck and call? Here’s some clarity about boundaries and how you can use them in your life to have more PEACE.
#1 – Not Everyone Should Have the Same Access to You
Aren’t we supposed to be available to everyone at anytime? Wasn’t Jesus? No and no. You have different levels of intimacy with different people in your life. Those with whom you have the most intimacy should have more priority, more time, and more attention, and those with less should have less. It is your own responsibility to GUARD YOUR HEART, the peace within your home, and where you set your boundary lines. So, for instance, your innermost circle would be God, then your spouse, then your children, then those whom you consider family, then different levels of friends, all the way out until you have people that you pray for but you will never meet. Did Jesus do this…yes! His innermost circle was filled with God, then His 3 closest friends, then the remaining 9 main disciples, then his family, then the rest of the people following Him, and on down. He was very deliberate with all of His time, made room for interruptions, and gave the most time and attention to those closest to Him.
#2 – You Don’t Owe Anyone an Explanation
Only you know what you need in order to guard your peace. If you are struggling with people who have a difficult time accepting the boundaries you set, they are not in the relationship to serve, but to control, even if they don’t realize it. Although it is your responsibility to set boundaries, you can simply let your no be no. If you choose to share more with someone, it should be out of your desire to do so, and not out of his/her pushiness or manipulation. If someone consistently pushes you for more information, just be straightforward about your desire to not share anything further and your appreciation for his/her concern. Jesus didn’t waste time sitting around explaining to people who weren’t close to Him why He did and said the things He did.
#3 – You’re Not Responsible for Anyone Else’s Feelings
You are not going to make everyone happy. Jesus certainly didn’t try to make everyone happy by acquiescing to their whims and attempts at control. This is when you need to recognize which “stuff” is your responsibility and which is not. It breaks down pretty simply. You are responsible for the boundaries of your own “yard,” which consists of your own thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. No one else’s. Not your spouse’s and not your friends’. Learn to recognize whose stuff is whose, you handle what is yours, and allow them to handle theirs. Sometimes, people have to get to a place where they feel uncomfortable in order to recognize that they don’t like the way they behave or how their behavior affects those around them. Jesus never apologized for the times He was straightforward and didn’t chase after people because He was worried they were offended when He communicated how He felt. Obviously, if you actually did something wrong, you should apologize to someone, but the simple act of letting someone know, “Hey, this is okay with me and this is not,” is not doing something wrong, except in the eyes of the person who wants to shift blame.
#4 – Healthy Boundaries Allow You to Serve Better
Jesus wants us to be effective in helping people, not time and energy wasters. Remember, He told us to shake the dust off our feet with anyone who didn’t want to hear what we had to say. If you can’t set boundaries for yourself to keep your peace, you will burn out and be of no use to anyone. Jesus would withdraw from crowds when He needed to have time to Himself and with God. You can’t serve everyone, everywhere, but you can serve someone, somewhere. You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be someone to somebody. Your first ministry is to those closest to you, and you don’t owe pieces of yourself to those who don’t respect you or themselves enough to respect your boundaries. This does not make you mean, it filters out unhealthy relationships and models for others what respect looks like.
If you have people in your life that consistently violate your boundaries and are pushy despite increasing your efforts at making yourself clear, guard your peace, let them go, pray for God to bless them, and release yourself from the relationship for the time being. Recognize your own stuff, and hand their stuff back.
Agree? Disagree? What have been your experiences with setting boundaries?
Comment below, and feel free to share to get more people freedom!