This topic is very dear to my heart because I needed to make changes in my life and it was all about the boundaries. From my ex-spouse, my children as well as my friends, I needed to establish what was acceptable in my life. I was being pulled in all directions because I had no boundaries established for myself and yet was crossing boundaries in their lives because of the need to help them get through difficult experiences.
Needless to say, I did some research. The first book that I read which elaborated on healthy boundaries is Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How to Say No, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.
This book was fundamental in helping me to understand that there were times I had to say to no. No to extending myself beyond my true capabilities and no to allowing others to impede on me things that were not my choice. I have added the link here so that you can review the book at your leisure. It is definitely another book that I will re-read as well as add to my 2016 book journey. John Townsend also has several additional books on boundaries that break down this subject into the areas that compose our lives. From personal relationships to the working environment, he shares the process on how to do this effectively and in a way that you can respect yourself and others. The key to this is that you will need to read the book but do the inner work necessary to understand where your boundaries are; what you can and cannot do as well as accept from yourself and others. It takes reflection on how you live your life and what you would like to see different.
Being involved with a narcissist caused me to seriously consider what needed to be changed in my life. Part of understanding the makeup of a narcissist is accepting that there is nothing you can do to change another’s perspective or behavior when it has nothing to do with you. Definitely a boundary. When looking up the definition of boundaries, it reads “a real or notional line marking the limits of an area or territory.” While we understand boundaries in the physical aspect, I had to learn what that meant in the emotional area. It was certainly sobering and when I realized that it was so unhealthy not to have these boundaries for everyone’s sake, it was an awakening moment. We do incorporate boundaries when raising our children for their safety. I did not realize the destruction I was bringing to myself until I realized and accepted that as adults, boundaries are still just as critical. I needed to establish some.
It is necessary to understand that this is not always an easy process. We get used to doing things a certain way and when incorporating change, it’s not always welcomed by others or by ourselves. It is necessary to become aware when reverting back to old ways as well as reinforcing those boundaries with others when they forget as well. However, for all who desire emotional health, boundaries are fundamental, necessary and critical to reaching that goal.
With thoughts of boundaries, the inclination is to consider the limits of the boundary. However, the healthy aspect is the freedom to do what you know you can for your benefit as well as the benefit others, particularly those you love. Boundaries allow the realistic perspective on how to truly live this life in a healthy way. Everyone will not have the same boundaries. However, the great part of this journey is understanding what yours are. Being honest and real with yourself and those you love. The process is truly challenging but the reward is certainly worth the effort.