Friday, May 1, 2009

Healthy Boundaries

I want to put a disclaimer out....I am not a professional and I am only sharing from my own experiences, opinions and from my heart. It has been a process for me. I had to learn new behaviours and attitudes in regards to healthy boundaries. Its a work in progress. I have not figured it all out. Its one day at a time. One situation at a time.

For me, it was important that I learned to recognize and acknowledge certain things in my life:
A. happened

B. I made choices (good, bad or indifferent)

C. I was not/am not responsible for other peoples choices, actions, feelings or expectations (unless of course I have done something-that is a whole other topic-asking forgiveness and forgiving)

D. I have a choice

E. Its ok NOT to put things under the rug (I am not a confrontational person so this has been hard for me-my nature wants to ignore "it" but my mind and heart say, no wait a minute this is not right, or that hurt my feelings-you will find as you get stronger in this, it may offend people but it is better to be direct as long as you go about it in a firm but gentle way-the goal is not to become over bearing or self righteous-again its that balance)

F. Take responsibility for choices and actions I make/made

G. I don't have to allow other peoples issues, drama or problems, to become mine (there is a balance for being compassionate, helpful and loving-finding that balance is sometimes hard but when you find it you will know in your heart)

H. Create a plan of action and stick to it (if you don't then the person you are creating these boundaries with will get mixed signals and it wont be helpful to you or them)

I. I am powerless to change anyone except myself (although I can continue to pray for that person!)

I admit it is sometimes hard to find that line of being Christ like, but not a door mat. Or compassionate but not taken advantage of. Or even loving but firm. Its a balance.
When I first began to realize it was ok to have healthy boundaries I felt guilty. I had been conditioned my entire life to take on other peoples issues, to serve and protect them, to put my own feelings and choices aside, I took responsibility for things that had nothing to do with me at all. I had to learn it was ok to acknowledge the situation but as I said before I don't have to dance the dance with that person.
I chose the photo of a leopard in a cage because as a visual learner I loved the visual concept this gave me....the cage is a healthy boundary- healthy because if I choose to visit a Zoo the cage keeps me safe from a wild animal and it keeps the tiger safe from those who would want to harm it. The boundary benefits us both. Its the same way when we create boundaries in relationships. The definetion of a boundary (according to Webster) is something that marks or fixes a limit.

If you are struggling with putting up healthy boundaries I want to encourage you that it is ok and it is possible. Remember it's one day at a time and one situation at a time.
Isaiah 41:10, 13 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

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