If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say “setting boundaries is controlling”, I’d be a rich woman. It’s a good time of year to revisit and remind ourselves that no, boundaries are not anything like being controlling. I think they are rather the opposite of control. Let’s revisit the concept of control, and understand the true nature of boundaries, debunking the myth that they are restrictive and instead highlighting how they empower and nurture healthy relationships.
Control, as we are defining it here, is a fear-based concept, where we try to manage outcomes to be what we want. That might mean we try to make good things happen for our children, for people to think feel or act a certain way, and perhaps see US a certain way. In many cases we’re not incorrect in wanting these outcomes. Most of us would love to see our loved ones thrive, for the world to be a better place, and for everyone to adore us. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, nor is it realistic.
Boundaries are the opposite, since they are all about reality…and how we can only control ourselves, and nothing truly outside of that, despite our efforts to argue, persuade, guilt or cajole other humans into being different. Having limits means coming to acceptance of well, our limits. Then letting go and allow reality to play out.
Empowerment, Not Control:
Let’s face it – the word “boundaries” often gets a bad rap, associated with control and limitations. However, at its core, establishing boundaries is an act of empowerment. It’s about taking control of your own well-being and creating a space where you can thrive without feeling overwhelmed.
Self-Care and Preservation:
Boundaries are not about selfishly guarding personal space; rather, they are a crucial aspect of self-care. By defining limits, individuals safeguard their mental and emotional well-being. This, in turn, enables them to bring their best selves to relationships, fostering a healthier and more balanced dynamic.
Mutual Respect and Understanding:
Healthy boundaries are a two-way street. They require open communication and mutual understanding. Contrary to the misconception that boundaries create distance, they actually enhance relationships by establishing clear expectations and promoting respect for individual needs and differences.
Navigating the Grey Area:
Boundaries are not rigid walls; instead, they are flexible guidelines that help navigate the grey areas of relationships. They provide a framework for communication and compromise, fostering an environment where both parties feel heard and valued.
Setting Boundaries as a Form of Love:
Real love involves respecting each other’s autonomy and recognizing that setting boundaries is an act of love, not rejection. It’s about creating a supportive space where individuals can grow and flourish without fear of judgment. It’s about everyone being in a place of choice, owning their choices and detaching from what other people choose.
As we delve into the misunderstood realm of boundaries, let’s reframe the narrative. Boundaries are not chains; they are the keys to unlocking healthy, thriving relationships. They are not about fear, but instead have a lot to do with letting go and allowing things (reality) to be. It’s time to embrace and celebrate the true essence of boundaries, appreciating them as a vital component of self-discovery, personal growth, and genuine connection.