I’ve been much more aware of my own boundaries over the last year or so. Slowly, slowly, I have become more comfortable with being clear about where my boundaries are. For me, boundary issues are not things which I just find mildly irritating, they are behaviours which impact my sense of integrity.
In the last little while several things have become clear.
Firstly, I can only hold a boundary with respect to behaviour. What I mean by this is that I can only say I cannot accept this specific action, I cannot say I don’t like that attitude.
Secondly, having been clear about the boundary I am holding, I have absolutely no control over the other person’s response. In almost every case the initial response is negative.
Thirdly, Brene Brown, when talking about holding your boundaries, writes ‘Choose discomfort over resentment’. That phrase has stayed with me for over a year. The thing is though, that the discomfort really is uncomfortable. I have to be clear in my own mind about why I am taking the stand that I am. It’s the only way I can hold the discomfort with equanimity.
Finally, my boundaries have only really come into sharp focus as I have become much more comfortable in my own skin. As I have grown in self-acceptance, it has been easier to see where I feel I need to hold the line.
Having said all of this, I have found that being clear about my boundaries has been tremendously liberating. I cannot control anyone else’s behaviour, but I can be clear about what I am not willing to tolerate. And I am willing hold whatever discomfort that may elicit. Because discomfort really is better than resentment.
It turns out that having good boundaries is only really incompatible with one thing – having everyone like you!