I’m a people person. People have always mattered to me; even as a child I felt great empathy and protection for people around me. Some would say that this is a good trait and I might too. But love for people without boundaries can create unforeseen challenges and relational mistakes.
Let me add another layer to this discussion by saying that I am also a Christ-follower; wanting to be more like Him each day. Also, take into consideration that I was a Pastor’s wife for over 10 years and truly felt that the right answer to any request had to be “yes.” Somehow setting boundaries with people seems unloving; maybe even unkind. Right? Well, that’s what I felt for many years.
Some behavioural styles have an easier time saying “no”, I’m sorry I cannot help”, or “this is not a good time”; while other behavioural styles feel awful if they ever have to say “no”. I have always admired those who have a stronger resolve with their boundaries because it is something that has taken me years to learn!!
Throughout my life time I have found myself in situations with people where I knew I wasn’t the cause and I knew I couldn’t fix the situation. I have found myself pouring hours and hours of time into people I “hoped” would get healthier only to realize they are content with their choices. I have protected people only to find that they were the antagonist in their situations. I have counseled with people who later turned and said ” I was actually the problem.”
I don’t have any resentment towards those situations because I had put myself there; and I have learned so much from them over the past 10 years!
Setting boundaries helps us to manage our time better; truly investing our time and talents where we should and saying no to those situations or people who would, knowingly, drain our bandwidth to a point of “empty”!
Setting boundaries keeps us safe from engaging in emotional situations that we can’t, or shouldn’t, get caught up in. We’ve all done it. We’ve all found ourselves wondering “how did I get involved in this?” Having quality relational boundaries will help us to have a better filter to know when we “should” step in and when we “should not”. We can always pray for the situation.
Setting boundaries with our finances or personal items can help us to appropriately help other while not becoming enablers. Consistently bailing people out, loaning money, cars, or household items can easily create resentment over time and ultimately harm the relationship we are trying to assist! Certainly there are times when sharing what we have is entirely appropriate, but there are clearly times when it is more loving to say “no”.
As a Life Coach, I have had so many conversations with amazing woman who will say, “I just can’t say No”, I don’t want to disappoint anyone”, “They’ll think I don’t care”, or “if I don’t bail them out, what will happen to them?”. It’s hard to set boundaries.
But~ Boundaries are so necessary.
It would not be possible to enjoy healthy relationships without the existence of personal boundaries, or without our willingness to communicate them honestly with others. Setting personal boundaries can preserve the integrity of your relationships, ward off resentment, and ultimately create environments for honest conversations.
Most people are surprised when I show them from the Bible examples of Jesus setting boundaries and practicing personal soul care. I would encourage you to read the Article ” Jesus Set Boundaries” to help you re-think about the boundaries in your own life.
I know this can be a challenging topic ~~ but it’s really important.