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The benefits of healthy boundaries are wonderful: the freedom to create, the wisdom to understand how life works, and the ability to “do unto others what we would have them do unto us”. So what prevents us from living in the gifts that boundary-setting can bring?
We have to give up these eight common myths to experience the benefits of boundaries. The myths are hard to release because we have experienced them as a mythological moral code. However, boundaries express love of self, respect for others, and honor the God who loved us first.
- I’m being selfish to say, “no”.
- I will be belittled, mocked, or rejected if I don’t “go along” or disagree.
- The recipient of my boundaries will resent me, never forget, and the future will be full of tension.
- I will be perceived as difficult and demanding.
- I will be put in a position of fighting, fleeing, or freezing when my boundaries are not honored.
- I will feel overwhelming toxic shame about revealing my needs.
- The boundary will be permanent.
- I will not be free to change them as I process, grow, or decide differently.
Having personal boundaries expresses a mature sense of responsibility and wisdom. In the world of land ownership, boundaries communicate where the ownership of land begins and ends. In the world of identity, boundaries communicate where a person starts and where they end.
A person’s “land” is the space they live in, which they are responsible to take care of—internally and externally. A person’s land is the emotional, spiritual, physical, and moral sphere that is one’s own to attend to. Boundaries are expressed through the use of one’s voice. When we use our voices to express our feelings, needs, desires, and values, and take action that is congruent with our voices, we lay claim to our “land.”
Having boundaries is no one else’s responsibility. It is my job to say, “no” and “yes”. It is my responsibility to tell the truth, to live by a value system, to attend to my body with responsibility and dignity. It is my responsibility to face myself, others, and God emotionally and truthfully.