This month I want to share a passage from my book Embrace The Mirror: Vision Of Abundance And A Stronger You. After reading this passage, I hope you will see the importance of setting boundaries. Before you start making plans to leave your corporate job behind make sure you have boundaries in place to support the person you are becoming. If you don’t, your dream of starting your own business will remain just that…a dream.
It sounds like the worst sort of cliché. You don’t know what you don’t know. But like most clichés, it is rooted in truth. The fact that most of life’s mysteries are hidden from us is all part of the journey, right? If we knew for sure what was ahead on our pathway, we might just be too scared to take a step forward! Or we would be so excited we would race ahead and miss out on the “now”. But lurking out there are answers to questions we don’t even know to ask.
Truth is, we are here to fumble along, make mistakes, and learn from them. That doesn’t mean we can’t also learn from the mistakes of those who came before us. Our parents used to tell us all the time, and we say it to our kids, “Learn from my mistakes.” I want to give you an opportunity to learn from one of mine.
It was late September, early morning rays of sunlight filtered through the big oval window in my bedroom, reflecting on the old, dark mahogany nightstand. The sun streamed in like an impatient guest ready to start the day. “Get up!” it was saying. “It’s a beautiful day.” But I pulled a pillow over my head and ignored the growing sunlight.
For the first time in years, I had slept in. My mind knew it was time to get up but my body was in a state of exhaustion from all the festivities of the previous night. You have probably heard the expression, “every girl deserves to be a princess for the day”. Well, the day before, I had indeed been a princess but no one told me the cost to be paid for being a princess for a day.
I rolled over and bumped against a handsome six-foot two light-skinned man whom I believed with all my heart was my Prince Charming. The shining knight in armor I was going to escape off into the sunset with and live happily ever after. I wish someone had told me that my Prince Charming was like all humans, he made mistakes. He was quite flawed. In fact, he was more frog than prince.
After kissing many frogs, I thought I could recognize them. And this man was not a frog, I was going to spend the rest of my life with him. He didn’t look like a frog to me then but little did I know, frogs came in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Yes, they can disguise themselves as princes, and frequently do.
Just three weeks after we settled into our new home, my Prince Charming began to reveal his less princely side. What started out as a conversation turned into a yelling match between us which resulted in me spending several nights on the couch. The honeymoon was officially over in a flash and I now had to deal with this faulty human non-prince who told me, “You are my wife and you are going to do as I say.”
As children, our families and communities tell us what we are supposed to do. For example, you graduate high school then you go to college. When you graduate college, you have to find a job in your field of studies and shortly there after you find a partner and you get married and have two children. A girl and a boy is preferred. What our families and society gives us is a guideline to what should happen and in the order they think it should all happen.
However, I want to call your attention to the details that are left out. To find true freedom, joy, and abundance you need more than guidelines. You need facts and details. I mean the meat and the potato stuff that’s going to help you succeed.
The yelling match between my new husband and me would not have taken place if I had had more details. If I had known what I know now I would have set boundaries from the very start. Not only would I have set boundaries, I would have set non-negotiable boundaries.
That’s what I want to give you today. Let’s get to it!
What are boundaries and why do you need them? According to Google, personal boundaries are guidelines, rules, or limits that a person creates to identity reasonable, safe, and permissible ways for the other person to behave toward them.
Personal boundaries are like fences you erect around you to protect you from being assaulted (like I was by my new husband). You need to be able to tell others how (and how not) to behave toward you. Not just Prince Charming, but everyone who enters your space. This includes the mother you love dearly, your boss, co-workers, and even the people you serve.
There are three important steps to take before you set your non-negotiable boundaries. The first step is to ask yourself these questions: What’s important in any relationship? Is it respect? Is it communication? You need to ask yourself what your deal breakers are. The things you absolutely won’t put up with. You need to know what they are. What are the things that make your nostrils flare? What are the things that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up? Unless you know what they are, you cannot set boundaries that are non-negotiable. Now, write them down. Make a list of your non-negotiable boundaries. Practice saying them aloud or in front of a mirror. Practice the conversation you are going to have with the individual with whom you plan to speak. The third step is to sit with the person and have the conversation. Make sure you are past the anger phase because if you are still angry with them, it’s not going to go well.
When you come from a place of anger you shut down the lines of communication. When people sense anger, they put up defensive walls. Your words will not get through. Let them know you love and appreciate them and gently bring the way they have been treating you to their awareness. Let them know the new rules. You might want to say something like, “I’m sorry for not being strong enough to let you know that I don’t like it when you treat me this way. I accept full responsibility for that but now I’m ready to honor myself. From now on I expect you to treat me like__________ (fill in the blank).”
Whether it’s correcting you in front of the children, or calling you at two o’clock in the morning, state your boundary. Be clear. But remember, it’s not their fault, it’s yours. You failed to be clear. Living without boundaries is like the Old West with open-range grazing. Too often, coyotes and other predators invade the space and cause havoc. Remember the old saying, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’. Good, strong, sensible personal boundaries make not just good neighbors, but good family relationships and a happy life for you filled with freedom, joy, and abundance.
P.S. Leave me a comment. Do you think it’s necessary to have boundaries in place in order to achieve your goals? If yes why?