Dear Destiny Friend,
The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything – Warren Buffet.
One of the qualities of great people that ever lived on planet earth is focus. Without focus it will be difficult to get any work done. This is because when you are focused, you will define what you really want and what you don’t want. To succeed in every profession or vocation; be it academic, relationship/marriage, business, politics etc. you need to define boundaries.
The question now becomes what is boundary and how do you define boundaries? According to Psychology Today, “boundaries are the limits we set with other people, which indicate what we find acceptable and unacceptable in their behaviour towards us. The ability to know our boundaries generally comes from a healthy sense of self-worth or value for oneself in a way that is not contingent on other people or the feelings they have toward you.”
Boundaries help to define us, and states what we accept and what’s unacceptable. Boundaries can be likened to values. To understand how boundaries work, imagine a car without control; a man who has an uncontrollable anger problem; or a loose lady who has no respect for her body. Boundaries help you to protect yourself from distractions in life. As a result, every living creature needs a boundary. The simple reason we put boundaries in our life is because you don’t want to be accessible to just anyone.
Boundaries come in different shapes and sizes. As a rational mind, there are acceptable ways of communicating and engaging on social media. Civilized beings don’t use uncouth words. In a professional environment such as companies, organizations, institutions etc, boundaries are spelt out as a policy, rule and regulation.
When you decide to take a new route in life, it’s always good to inform those around you or your associates of your intentions, and expectations from them. They might be uncomfortable with the development, especially if it’s a radical and fundamental difference from the status quo. Those that care will respect you, while those who don’t literally value you, will show their true colour.
The advantages of creating boundaries are priceless. It gives you clarity and sanity of mind. It makes you understand what is important, and gives you a better understanding of who you are. It tells you about other people and most importantly, it defines you. Boundaries give you the ability to guard how you spend your time and resources. Setting a boundary gives you strength to say no, and to focus on what’s important. It is worthy of note as well that setting a boundary helps prevent obstacles.
When boundaries are not properly set, It has a way of causing havoc. For instance, without healthy boundaries, we can become resentful of the work we love; we can become resentful of those we love, especially if they don’t value or appreciate our time or what matters to us.
As rational human beings, boundaries mean different things to us. Whenever your value is trampled upon or you feel disrespected, you are bound to react. According to an anonymous saying “Lack of boundaries invites lack of respect.
When you set a boundary, communicate it to people in the best possible way whether formally or informally. Let them know your plans and intentions. For example, you let them know when you are available and when you won’t be available. You can decide to put your phone either on silent mode or better still, switch it off. Boundaries must have limits.
Boundaries help you to understand people. For example, if you don’t show people who you are and what your capacity is, they will put you through anything. Why? Because you have shown that you value nothing; nothing, not even yourself. Be advised, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything and everything.
Naturally, human beings will test your boundaries. They will push you to the wall to see your reaction. The first way of attracting disrespect as a man or woman is when you don’t show boundaries. People will literally take you for granted.
A relationship is like building a house. When you build a house, you put gates and other security gadgets to protect you, your loved ones and what you value. Relationship entails making a choice. Choice defines marriage. Your choice defines what you want, it determines what you admire in a person, what’s tolerable and intolerable and what makes you feel you are compatible with the person.
Boundaries play a role in marriage or any form of relationship. This is because your partner needs to know what you like? When people complain about their spouse, it is sometimes because their spouse is not aware of their concerns. Therefore, it’s imperative for you to communicate with your spouse. If you decide to keep quiet, how is your spouse supposed to know?
Marriage is supposed to be enjoyed as opposed to being endured. There’s a difference between endurance and tolerance. Endurance is accepting the things that cannot be changed, while tolerance is adjusting to things while hoping people will change.
If you don’t state your boundaries, it has a way of coming back at you. The reason many people get drained in life is because they are concerned about what other people will say. They wonder what will happen if they decline a request, they wonder how their friends and the world will perceive them.
In some instances, we want to look to our partners, colleagues at work, children or close allies, just because we don’t want to offend them. We fail to understand that, we might lose the relationship when the coin is flipped. We might even harm them in the long run in the process of trying to protect them. Isn’t it true you can spare the rod and spoil the child?
In some situations, we are afraid of the circumstances. For example, in a professional environment, where sexual advances are totally prohibited, a lady or a man might be afraid of setting clear boundaries to his/her boss because of the policy. Due to the retaliation which might follow suit, they might be tempted to allow their boundaries to lay low, especially when their job performance is low.
In conclusion, according to Robert Frost, “Good fences, make good neighbors.” Sacrificing ourselves therefore, for others, does more harm than good to the relationship. It is imperative to always show the green, yellow and red light where necessary. In that way, we save a lot of situations and dramas.
Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org