"When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice."
~ Brené Brown
Dysfunctional families use boundaries to punish, intimidate, and control, imposing rigid rules and regulations on their members and often crushing their souls. Members of those families usually end up emotionally cut off from their hearts, unyielding, and angry at life. Chaotic families, on the other hand, exercise no boundaries, invading one another's emotional, physical, and psychic spaces and leaving no room for individuality. In both cases, each individual's wants, needs, and rights are violated, whether by being forcibly opposed or utterly ignored. Members of such families rarely feel safe or cared for, so they don't develop a solid sense of their own identity.
Healthy boundaries are physical, emotional, and psychological constructs we create and maintain in order to feel that each person's own identity is safe in the world. While they may be flexible, boundaries help us set limits so we can be in functional relationships that enrich, support, and inspire us. When we respect ourselves and set good psychic and physical boundaries with others, we give ourselves a protected space that lets our unique abilities and characteristics bloom into our full potential. This form of self-care, in turn, invites us to love an equally unique other in safe and functional ways.
DAILY HEALTHY ACTS
- Think about each person in your life with whom you need to set boundaries. Is it your boss, family member or friend? What have you been avoiding saying to set those boundaries? What is the best way to say it? When is the best time to say it?
- Are you tolerating something in your relationship that you resent because you don't want to upset your partner? If so, act today by telling the truth with an open heart.
- Be willing to listen to your partner's need for boundaries and to be flexible when necessary. Good boundaries make good partners and spouses!