One way to increase efficiency is to combine activities. For example, following my creative muse allowed me to also have material for my podcast. Since I often share my journey with you all, I hope this blog helps you to explore your relationship with boundaries. Future Cain is an incredible Social-Emotional Leader and Wellness Coach. I’m combining my homework with my blog to ensure I do the work and sit with myself about boundaries. My assignment is to reflect on the reasons that I need boundaries. I have been chewing on this all week, and so far, the most significant discovery is that the person most likely to abuse my limits is me. I do not respect my time and have trained others to not value my energy. The bigger question is why? So the first order of business is to turn off the notifications on my phone so that I can respect that now is my time to write this blog. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a boundary as a limit or a perimeter. I generally define my boundaries in Björks, specifically in her song “Where is the Line?” I think of boundaries as a line in the sand and sometimes as a membrane. The ocean quickly washes away what you have drawn in the sand. If I were encased in a membrane, it would need an outline, but it would also need to be semi-porous, so I do not suffocate. Therefore, a boundary to me is a perimeter that provides limits for me to breathe.
When I was in therapy, they first asked about my childhood. What did I learn about boundaries as a child? We had a culture of sharing in my home. Sharing was a virtue. We were regaled with stories of my granny who, even if she had a cashew, could cut it in twelve pieces to share with her children. I shared a bedroom with my sisters. The only expectation of privacy was around your physical body. I’ve always liked corners and niches. Perhaps, I have always been seeking a place to call my own. My mom may not have realized she also wanted boundaries because she often wished for her own space without anyone so that it would stay precisely how she wanted it. Boundaries are a luxury and a selfish wish. Just typing and thinking that makes me instinctively take a deep breath. That’s the first lie that I internalized about boundaries. Taking up space is selfish because you are supposed to share everything. Therefore my time is up for grabs and should be readily shared with others, even at a detriment to myself.
When one of my kids was six, they handed me a teddy bear and advised that they no longer wanted hugs. Children are brilliant. They knew their boundaries and were thoughtful enough to provide an alternative. I respected this boundary, and the reward is a hug is now a regular part of our nighttime routine. If a six-year-old can set boundaries, why can’t I? I’ve seen adorable videos of kids singing boundary songs. If a child can do it, why won’t I? I almost wrote can’t again and recognized that I have the power and do not exercise it. If I think I can’t, I won’t. The world does not owe me anything, so I must create my reality. We all are born with gifts. I was born with an abundance of curiosity, the ability to ask powerful questions, confidence, a sense of justice, being a safe space, and being a dreamer. I have forgotten that little Stacy did not apologize for her looks, stood up to the bullies, and regaled her family with her dreams. She also learned to be silent when people invaded her space.
Today my friend sent me a dragon sticker. There is a dragon Pokémon that is a steel type that is very strong but also sensitive to corrosion. It does not like water. Water is often associated with feelings. I'm not too fond of emotions and do not understand how humans deal with them. I know I am a human. In fairy tales, dragons often have a vulnerable spot where the enemies strike. I understand that I am my biggest vulnerability. Why are boundaries important? The better question for me is why my time is valuable. Protecting my energy allows me to make greater use of my gifts. One of the things I consider to be a gift is having kids. Even though I never wanted to marry or procreate, I am happy and grateful I did because I have learned so much from my family. The result is they also learn from me. Am I teaching them to respect their wise six-year-old selves who valued their bodies? During the pandemic, one of them constantly interrupted me during the school day until I set boundaries. This empowered them to be resourceful. Now they proudly share with me when they solve a problem but are open to asking for help when needed. Boundaries allow me to be my best self and accomplish my goals. They allow me to set an example for my kids and have the strength and energy to pour into others when I have excess.
What do boundaries mean to you?