Boundaries are important in every aspect of life. I recently read the book “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Although this book was referenced all throughout my counseling courses in school, I never had taken the time to actually read the book. I’m so glad I finally did! For someone who has a hard time saying no, this book was just what I needed.
Some thoughts that I took away from the book:
- We are in control of our own lives. If someone is stepping over our boundaries, it is our sole responsibility to take care of it and communicate our discomfort. If the boundary crosser doesn’t understand that, then we may need to communicate to them that until they can respect our boundaries, we cannot hang out with them.
- Our emotions are our own. No one else can cause your anger, because you are the only one who can create anger in yourself. If someone is pushing your boundaries and this makes you angry or upset, you can choose how to respond. The boundary pusher does not make you angry. You chose to be angry and you can choose to not be angry anymore.
- We are called to treat others as we would like to be treated. As far as boundaries go, this means that if you want someone to respect your own boundaries, you must respect the boundaries they have set for themselves and do not judge them lest you be judged.
- Communication is key. If someone is not treating you how you want to be treated, go straight to them and let them know. Don’t hold it inside to where eventually you will explode and don’t go to your mutual friend or family member and complain about them causing unneeded triangulation. You can lovingly tell someone that they hurt you and together try and formulate a solution.
- If you didn’t grow up in a home that valued boundaries you must realize that the older you get the harder it is to set and respect boundaries. This doesn’t mean that it can’t be done, but it means that others might have a hard time if you’re establishing boundaries later in life. You must be prepared to handle some negative feedback and answer questions about your new boundaries.
Check out more information on boundaries at http://www.cloudtownsend.com