Today, I am thinking about boundaries.

As someone who is open and friendly, setting boundaries was a difficult prospect for me. It sounded like locking a gate and stopping people from entering my life. Or even adding unnecessary distance that would only make things more difficult. Things are much clearer now. And I realize just how much I need them.

Boundaries are most difficult in happy and easy-going relationships. Because of all the happiness and the easy-going attitude. We begin to settle into what feels familiar and anything that emerges is labelled as the “byproduct of a happy relationship”. Despite arguments and disagreements, we may not acknowledge any discomfort that comes up. Because if the relationship is one full of love and happiness, why would there be discomfort? Well, because love is blind and happiness is relative.

And discomfort sneaks in when we forget these two key points.

Love is a powerful emotion. But it is not an entirely positive one. It extends from wanting the best for someone and having deep affection for them. But, often this is misinterpreted. Often, some fail to understand the distinction between wanting the best for someone and knowing what’s best for someone. They influence and direct (out of love, of course) their loved ones into paths they think lead to happiness. Or at least to their idea of happiness.

That is a point where boundaries are necessary. They are not an “I’m right and everyone else is wrong” zone where no one is allowed. They are a way of life that advertise the behaviours we are willing to accept around us.

This is not a caution to the wind approach. I am not advocating hasty and irresponsible life decisions. This is not about rejecting all advice, comments or opinions that differ from yours. Boundaries can take different kinds of shapes. The volumes at which you choose to have discussions. Whether or not a topic is open for discussion. The time you need to yourself. The type of language you prefer being used around you.

I see boundaries as defining the behaviours we accept around us. If someone’s actions don’t align with our boundaries, we don’t need to categorize them as “wrong”. Just as “wrong for us”. They do not need to understand our boundaries, merely to acknowledge and respect them. And we owe them the same for any boundaries they have.

Today, I am thinking about boundaries. And how they translate to self-care.

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