Coming from a childhood of abuse I have had to work hard to develop boundaries that work for me. And I confess, I often need to go back and adjust or modify them from time to time.
Learning how to set healthy boundaries for ourselves is a huge step in the healing process even though at first they feel awkward. But with practice and persistence the benefits are well worth the effort.
According to Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend in their excellent book, Boundaries, “We need to keep things that will nurture us inside our fences and keep things that will harm us outside.” So one of the steps we take is to identify the people and behaviors of people that nurture us. Boundaries have been described as limits we set to define who we are and what we will allow in our relationships with others.
When I am under stress or when something “triggers” an old wound occasionally my natural instinct is to return to my old ways or patterns. It bugs me when I say yes to someone out of my people pleasing, appeasing or peace making. And it irritates me when I find myself wanting to “run” again and not wanting to face the trigger or to do the work of putting up boundaries.
But maybe you are like me and find that when we operate within healthy boundaries life is much more uncomplicated and less stressful when we honor who we are and what we need and desire….because our Heavenly Father is the one who created our personalities, temperaments, gifts and limitations. Do we not honor Him when we are ourselves?
What about you….how do you like your steak done, do you even like steak? What is your favorite pastime, what is your favorite color? What makes you tick? Who are you? Who in your life is supportive, loyal, truthful and trustworthy?
What situations, events, or people are there in your life that you should say “no” to in order to be true to yourself? Or perhaps there are good things you should say “yes” to that would benefit and bless yourself and others as well.
I often have to stop and do a relationship check-up so to speak, to ask myself if I am being authentic and honestly sharing myself with others or am I faking it, being phony on the outside and then later paying for it with the negative, harmful emotions that I stuff on the inside.
Sometimes I need a reality check and have to ask myself if my relationships are intimate, authentic and sincere. Am I being who I long to be, and who God created me to be.