I love you - Now get outta my yard
Today we are talking about boundaries! And believe it or not, "boundaries" is not a bad word! So why are we so uncomfortable when we hear the word being used??? I think for the most part, it's because we aren't exactly clear on what boundaries are, or are not. We aren't sure when to use them, how to use them, or why to use them.
Join in today as we look at boundaries through an illustration that helps us see how empowered we can be in our own lives and our relationships, once we understand the concept and importance of healthy boundaries.
From surveying our land, to building fences, gates and gardening... we sort out the basics of boundaries in an unforgettable way!
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Did you get to hear last week’s episode on guilt yet? If you didn’t, take a listen when you get the chance. We looked at the possibility of making friends with guilt, and becoming ok with that feeling that comes when we tell someone NO. I want to look really specifically at that piece today. That saying NO part and what it really is… which is essentially, setting a boundary.
Don’t leave. Don’t turn this off just because I said a bad word. Boundary isn’t actually a bad word. It just feels like it to those of us who don’t totally understand what it means.
I want to do that today. I want to get really clear on the very basics of boundaries – so that it doesn’t feel like a bad word, but actually instead, feels like empowerment.
Right of the top here, let’s address the fact that most people think boundaries are rules we give other people. And I think that is directly related to why this can feel like such an uncomfortable topic. When we start making it seem like it’s about rules.
I’m out too if you wanna be talking about rules. I’m not your girl for loving anything to do with rules. WAAAAAY too black and white for me!
But, I can handle boundaries. In fact I think they are fantastic. I like ‘em even. So there is no way that I see them as rules, AND still like them.
Boundaries, as I understand and LOVE them, are agreed upon limits – that we agreed upon and set with ourselves, as to what we will or will not tolerate.
How does that explanation sit with you? Does that shift from RULES for OTHERS, to LIMITS with YOURSELF feel better to you?
Does it feel more comfortable, manageable, figure-out-able when we look at it this way?
I feel like I have way more control over a boundary if it is about me and my limits.
If the only way my boundaries can be respected and successful depends on someone else following my rules for them… well then, I don’t actually have any control in that. You know, if you give someone a rule, they could always break it.
If you give yourself a limit, no one has any power there to make or break it, except you.
Which I suppose is both the good news and the bad news.
I mean, if you’re really looking to implement some boundaries and make them stick for the sake of healthier relationships, you can do it. That is great news.
This is terrible news though, if you were looking to blame someone for not following the rules of your healthy relationship strategy plan. Which I don’t know, sounds fun and like it could have a high success rate, but not in this world… so – let’s keep looking at boundaries in this figure-out-able way…
Of, again, being limits that we agreed upon and set with ourselves, about what we will and will not tolerate.
Simply put, we decide what is ok and what is not ok, in our lives.
And since we don’t often think about and really look clearly at our boundaries, how do we know if we need to set some?
Well, let’s say this, all healthy relationships are FULL of boundaries.
So, you do need to set some if you want healthy relationships. And you need to do it right away if you are someone who finds themselves overwhelmed and overcommitted because of your inability to say no without feeling terrible. Or you are someone who is often hurt because people around you are disrespectful of your time, energy, feelings, or even finances. How about being someone who sacrifices their own peace in order to keep the peace around them? Or their own happiness for the happiness of others?
If any of those sound familiar… stick around. Because I don’t want you to live that way. I don’t think you do either.
I’m pretty sure that you exhausted from trying to make sure that the boat doesn’t rock, that all conflict is avoided and that you shoulder more responsibility than is yours to manage.
If you have been abandoning yourself to make sure that everyone else is ok, that’s not ok.
You need a land surveyor. And more good news… I can teach you to be one. There will be no certification in this course, but still, you’ll probably learn something. Hopefully.
Ok, one of the things that a land surveyor does, is update the boundary lines. This is really just about letting anyone involved with the property, aware of where the limits of the property line are.
You know, I think one of the biggest problems we have with boundaries and these property lines we’re talking about, is thinking that when we get into a relationship, they amalgamate. Like we were neighbors, when we were single, and now that we are together as partners in this relationship, we have one big back yard now.
That is step one in how to have an unhealthy relationship. Pull the property markers, and merge the two yards into one.
This happens all the time. And it’s terrible for our relationships.
Healthy boundaries is knowing that I have my own yard all the time. Always. I was born with it and I’ll die with it and that’s just how it is.
You have a fenced off yard. The healthy you does anyways. If you’ve torn down your fence over the years, also known as not having any boundaries, it’s ok. Fences are built every day. And I can also teach you how to build fences. Also, an uncertified course. But you’re a land surveyor now, so what can’t you do really?
Surveying your land, is being self-aware of yes, what your limits are and what you will tolerate or not. It’s knowing what is ok or not ok in your life. It’s knowing what you want and what you like and what you don’t. When you are aware, that’s you fence line. That’s where your fence goes.
Having a fence does not make you a bad person. It makes you a healthy person and good fences make good neighbors. And when we are looking at boundaries, your neighbors, those are the people you have the closest relationships with.
And this is what I was saying happens when people get into relationships. They tear down that middle fence. Thinking, we are together now. We need one big yard.
No. You don’t stop being an individual when you become a partner. You are still an individual which means you still need to be clear on where your individual property line runs. You need your fence up. Good, and strong, and sturdy.
When we enter into a relationship, we don’t tear down the middle fence, we simply put in a gate. One that opens, but also closes as well.
That’s exactly what a healthy relationship with beautiful boundaries looks like. Two yards joined by a gate.
This is such a gift to your neighbors too, to keep that fence up. That middle fence is precisely what keeps you from a co-dependent relationship. Keeping two yards is saying, I know that my yard looking good, being healthy, being taken care of, is all up to me. I also understand that your yard, is up to you.
If I want something in my yard to grow and flourish, that is up to me to plant it, water it, weed around it and take good care to see it grow into something beautiful.
I might invite you to come on over and help me or keep me company while I tend to my garden, or you might have some tips for me to try because it worked in your garden.
But at the end of the day, if it didn’t get planted, that’s on me. If it did but then died due to being too dry, it’s on me that I didn’t water it. If the weeds overtook it and it got choked out… that’s on me too. It was my yard to take care of.
But what if I was tending to my garden and they weren’t tending to their and when they came over last, they left their gate open, and their weeds got into my yard and spread like that?
Oh ya, that gate… that opens into your yard. Ya, it closes too. Remember that? Remember that part?
If we have clearly stated that these are our boundary lines, and weeds is not something I will tolerate, then we are also saying, I’m not responsible for weeding your yard, that’s on you, but I have to keep your gate closed here cause I can’t chance them getting in my yard.
That’s having boundaries. Good ones. Healthy ones. Safe ones.
And do you see how different they are from rules.
Not once did you say “you can’t be in my life if you have weeds in your yard”. You haven’t told someone how they need to keep their property, you’ve just said, your yard matters to my gate. You do what you want with your yard, and I’ll decide on my gate from there.
It’s like saying to a friend, I love you and I love talking to you, but I can’t keep talking about your ex. It’s been a long time. So, if you need extra support to talk about your ex, I’ll help you find someone. But I’m not talking about them anymore. Please keep calling me. Please keep knocking on my gate and I’ll keep opening it for you. But if you start talking about your ex, I’ll tell you that I’m going to end the call with you now, but we’ll talk again later when you’re not wanting to talk about your ex. I’ll send you back to your yard and I’ll close my gate. We’ll try again another time.
That’s a boundary. It’s not a rule saying, “you’re no longer allowed to talk about your ex”.
It’s a limit saying, “I can no longer listen about your ex”. And if you don’t respect this limit, this is what I will do. For me.
It’s awareness of your limits AND THEN expressing to others where they lie.
When you communicate where your property lines are, remember that others can and should be doing the same. Don’t be offended. This is a good thing. Healthy. This is someone else knowing and understanding and letting you know that they are responsible for their yard, not you.
Communicating boundaries to one another is often the hardest part here. Because we get so worried about how others are going to feel with what we have to say to them. But remember our last episode on guilt… the guilty feeling that comes from putting our needs ahead of everyone else’s that’s something we need to be ok with.
Because we need to take care of our needs, and not just focus on avoiding feeling guilt. We have to become friends with the feeling if that’s what it takes to close the gate and say no, that beyond my limit and not something I want in my yard.
We are not responsible for how someone accepts or doesn’t, our boundary. Our responsibility is to survey the yard, communicate the property lines with the neighbors, and build a nice fence. And add the gates. Make sure the hinges are strong, and that the gates swings easily, and very important, has a good strong latch.
Again, our job is not to make sure others are ok with where the property runs, or what the fence looks like, or if they like the gate.
If you spend more time worrying about their yards, yours will get overrun by weeds, you’ll be overwhelmed, and nothing beautiful will be growing. There will be nothing there to enjoy.
Go ahead and help others with their yard, but when you have the time and energy. You don’t use the time, energy, money, or resources for your yard and put them into someone else’s. Your yard will then again, over weed and you’ll be in the same mess.
You can’t keep hopping the fence either to take care of your neighbor’s yard so that no one else thinks they have a terrible looking garden. That’s also co-dependent. If you aren’t ok unless everyone thinks your neighbor’s yard is ok, that’s not ok.
That’s not healthy.
Without a middle fence, there is not independent, unique self anymore. You cannot lose yourself. But if you have the fence up without a gate, you have to choose isolating in your yard alone, or abandoning yours for someone else’s.
Keeping the middle fence and adding a gate is a healthy boundary and that is the only way to not have to choose loving yourself OR someone else. A healthy boundary is exactly how you get to love yourself AND someone else too.
No boundary says “choose. It’s me or them”.
That doesn’t sound like a life I want to love. That sounds like an ultimatum and I’m not your girl if you’re looking to be handing out ultimatums.
I want it all. I want me, and I want others in my life too. I am just so relieved that I can have it all. And so can you, as long as you know where your limits are, respect them, and ask others to respect them as well. Or you be swinging that gate so fast.
Guys, I love ya. I do. I want the best for you. And you may not be living your best. Been there. It’s a process. It’s a journey. I just don’t want you missing out because you weren’t sure of what you deserved. Maybe no one has told you… I’ll will.
YOU DESERVE IT ALL.
To love yourself so deeply that you wouldn’t budge past your limits of what you can tolerate. But also, not alone either. You can have it all. You, and people you love, and people who love you. And we can keep figuring out how.
Come back each week. We’ll keep looking at another topic and being motivated to keep on keeping on!
And don’t forget to buy me a coffee if your heart is moved to do so. The link is in the show notes. Every coffee is just 2 bucks and goes right to making sure this show has the funds to stay being produced through our non-profit, charity counselling agency, Life’s Seasons.
I personally can’t imagine not having this time with you. I love it. I love you. And I’ll be back again next week.
Until then, this is Tina saying good-bye for now, and we’ll speak again soon.