The 2020 #AtoZchallenge – B for Boundaries

Ah…a fun one. Bi-polarbears will move to being a little less personal after the AtoZ, but I wanted to talk about boundaries because in short, they’re important.

For now though…

Boundaries are hard

Boundaries are hard, because you’re having to say no to people that aren’t used to it, and you might not be to. And, depending on how you feel about it, if the people that aren’t happy about it use it against you, it gets harder.

Mostly though, boundaries are hard because – I found – they don’t feel exactly natural. And I’ve been lucky – many friends have supported me in setting mine, but I hear and read about people that don’t – the toxicity of the pushback. So, that’s the first thing to acknowledge. Boundaries are hard.

Boundaries don’t need to be huge

No, really. They don’t. No can be to a simple thing. Or to a huge thing that cuts off a lot, and makes things simpler for you. Or anything in between. It’s important to ensure that, like SMART goals, you’re setting boundaries that are Actionable, Concrete and Tangible. If you set up your boundaries using ACT, you’ll find it easier.

ACT on Boundaries.

  • Actionable – Boundaries need to be things that you can act on. There’s no point in saying ‘I’m going to tell people to stop bullying me on Facebook’, that doesn’t work. A more actionable one here would be ‘I’m going to block anyone that attacks me on Facebook, and if they are my friend, I will remove and block them’.
  • Concrete – like the example above – ‘stop bullying’ doesn’t really have an endpoint. It’s an ongoing thing. ‘I am going to’, ‘I will’, ‘I need’, ‘I’m protecting myself.” that’s all concrete.
  • Tangible – like things being concrete, instead of time-limited, I suggest working with tangible goals. Simply because time-limited boundaries are often pointless.

Remember, boundaries can, and will evolve

What works for you now won’t always be what you need, and what you do to protect yourself, as long as it’s not at the cost explicitly of others, is ok.

A word on ‘hurting others’

When I wrote this, I was about to set up a new set of boundaries, to take back more of my time. And I got accused, in the process or turning down working for free, of thinking only of myself, deserting people and being a bad friend. This is an example, in my opinion of the wrong reaction to boundaries, so if you’re not sure about a reaction, ask people you trust. Ensure you’re not being gaslit by the people around you, of course, but you should be able to trust someone, I hope.

Further reading

2 comments

  1. Right now, too, because so much has changed in terms of expectations and norms while under shelter-in-place or isolation edicts, I think people are feeling very unsure and are trying to (re)figure out just where their boundaries lie.

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