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Queen of Your Own Life

Boundaries | The Battle for You

by Cindy Ratzlaff

I remember a poem from Robert Frost that said something like “good fences make good neighbors.” When I read it, I don’t think I fully understood the importance of that concept.  It takes life experience and missteps to appreciate the value of being able to set boundaries.  It’s an art.

Setting boundaries is really about honesty. When I say yes to someone, they deserve to know that I mean yes. That whatever the request, I can help and want to help.  If I say yes and then resent them for the request, I’ve created that negative situation.  The asker didn’t do anything wrong.  It was my obligation to assess the request, and decide whether I could AND wanted to help.

And, by the same token, when I say no, for whatever reason, it is important that I am doing so out of honesty.  “I can’t walk your dog while you are on vacation because I won’t be able to leave my own work every day for a week or I won’t be able to host that family holiday party because I have a busy travel schedule during that time period myself.”  When we’re honest with ourselves about the reasons we say yes or no, then we can be clear with others about our own boundaries.

Here’s the kicker.  People won’t necessarily like the fact that we’re setting boundaries, especially if we haven’t been setting them up until now.  But with practice and consistency, we can change and they’ll eventually learn to respect that fact that we say what we mean and mean what we say.

Setting boundaries, above all other tools we talk about here, will bring you peace of mind.  We wish this for you.

Are you setting strong boundaries?  Are others trying to cross those boundaries? Have you been successful in changing the way you handle this issue?  Please share with us so we can all benefit.

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One Response to “Boundaries | The Battle for You”

  1. sus says:

    i think boundaries are tricky to set when you are so used to saying “yes” all the time even if you dont want to. I think for myself the reason i do that is tied into the need to be liked and loved and accepted which you and kathy have touched on. But in the end i just end up burning out and feel like i have zero time for myself, which i know is my own fault! But i think if i came to terms that im likeable regardless and was nicer to myself more i wouldnt think all of my loved ones’ acceptance and love for me was riding on how many times i can say yes and how many things i can pile on my plate! Thank you both so much for encouraging all of us to be nicer to ourselves!

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