Unlike most popular belief that boundaries are the sign of selfishness and extreme rigidity, boundaries actually bring you closer to people. To clear your confusions, read on to know the biggest myths about boundaries.
We live in a time of constant contact. Of virtual reality. Of never feeling like we have enough information or detail about the latest and greatest news within our circle of family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and even people we have never met – but know from afar. On the one hand, this makes it an extraordinary time to be alive. Things are always changing and evolving and giving us insight into how the minds of others work. It is also a time of marked anxiety and fear of missing out, messing up and disconnect from the deeper focus of what true connection and relationships are all about.
As I thought about this week’s post and about what I thought might be really useful to others in helping them start to heal and enhance their relationships – the word that kept coming to me over and over again is BOUNDARIES.
There are several myths about boundaries.
Many of us confuse boundaries with over pliability or extreme rigidity, neither of which is a healthy exploration of the topic. And while the discussion of boundaries, as well as the nuanced meanings around this word, could make for endless contemplation; for our purposes, I’ve condensed this to a shortlist of what, in my opinion, are the three biggest myths about boundaries.
1. Boundaries are mean.
This is one of the popular myths about boundaries! So many of us grew up in families where either everyone talked about everything to everyone (at the expense of everyone and everything), or, conversely, where nobody talked about anything to anyone and learned to always go it alone (where there was rigidity and no authentic connecting at all).
As human beings, we are neither meant to be in constant contact with others about every single thing that happens in our lives, nor are we meant to function in total isolation and autonomy. When we learn, through nurture or nature; however, to vacillate or cling to either of these extremes, our relationships suffer – including our relationship with ourselves.
If you are a person who grew up in the former type of environment, you most likely learned that to say no meant abandonment of others and that you were responsible for the feelings, emotions, reactions and needs of everyone around you. This type of environment most likely taught you that when you tried to set a limit around interaction or gossip or even your space and time, that you were either told you were bad or shown you were bad through the emotional retaliation of everyone else around you.
This observation doesn’t mean you or your family are bad; it simply means that there has been some serious confusion about what the word means and how it functions to form healthy and breathable relationships.
Think about someone you know who has either really healthy friendships or romantic endeavors – or both. What you will most likely notice are a few things. The type of person with a healthy connection to others knows how to say no when it is appropriate. They know how to not respond to a text immediately if they are in the middle of a serious task at work. They know how not to invade other people’s personal items or space. They know how to allow their friends and loved ones to have opinions and feelings outside of what they may think or believe.