Someone once said “Whatever you’re willing to put up with is exactly what you will have.” Hence the need for boundaries as they are a reflection of the respect you have for yourself and the respect you want from others. Whether it’s your children, family, friends or co-workers, you have to know when to say yes and have the courage to say no. Most important is your commitment to these boundaries. When you start making exceptions, those lines get real fuzzy. Ambiguity becomes the norm. I know from experience—having no set boundaries in place—it can be a difficult challenge once you get started. However, think about how you feel when they are ignored. You may feel resentment, or perhaps you get overwhelmed. I know there are times I felt helpless during my divorce when boundaries were repeatedly violated. Now, through experience, I now have learned to respect myself and my feelings.
Boundaries are defined as something that shows where one area ends and another begins. A demarcation point, if you will. It’s a point (or limit) where two things become different. I will loosely apply the definition to getting a divorce as nothing could further define what was happening. I became different. I was rediscovering all of the things I wanted to be -- who I wanted to be. My husband felt the changes I was making pushed the limits of his own boundaries. My wants and needs were constantly, and blatantly, being ignored. At the start of the separation, I was highly advised to set boundaries for not only my ex, but for everyone in my life. This was a most difficult task. My emotions and stress levels were reaching an all-time high. I was dealing with someone who felt he wasn’t accountable for his behavior. As anyone who has been through a divorce will tell you, boundaries are extremely essential. Almost two years after the initial separation and one year after our divorce, I am still receiving calls near midnight. I can promise you that no good can come from answering a call from your ex at midnight. Ever.
Life is all about boundaries; whether they are your own or what we have to live by. However, they aren’t all about limitations. They can be lifesavers as well. Equate them to traffic signs – they tell you when to go, when to stop, when to yield, and what speed to travel. You can also apply this to signs that read open or closed. I have close friends and family with whom I am open and readily share myself. Conversely, I have flipped the sign to closed for those with their own agendas that endangered mine. Learning to say no in any form is something we should all practice if that’s what you feel. Whether it’s a question you don’t want to answer or something you don’t want to do. Be honest with them and yourself. Then we have “friends” who drop into your life when the spirit hits them. It’s never about you, but about them and the attention they want. That ex-boyfriend who’s in town wants to get together for drinks. Remember there’s a reason they’re an ex. The girl from high school who you haven’t heard from in five years needs a ride to the airport. Yea, that’s not going to happen. Take a close look at people in your life and see if there’s a mutual friendship there. Or, are you the one maintaining it.
It’s time to reflect on what your boundaries are. We all have a few in some form or fashion. I perused the internet and read books to get ideas of the boundaries I needed to make when getting divorced. But, I also reflected on what I wanted and expected from others and myself. Being a single mother required me to change my approach with my kids and my family. I found I am much more confident in knowing that I am ready to speak up for myself having established boundaries in my life.
Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.
~Shannon L. Alder
I am a woman-child at heart; continuously evolving to find my place in life. I am a mother, a daughter, and a sister. I am a lover and a dreamer--an explorer and a traveler. But it's my passion for writing that allows me to explore my ingenuity. This is something that undoubtedly carries over to the many roles that make up the ever evolving woman I am.