Setting boundaries is fundamental to building healthy relationships. We probably all agree on this but may have different ideas about what boundaries are and how to set them. This week, I want to discuss some pitfalls of setting boundaries, and then offer some alternatives and other tips.
A boundary separates one person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions from another person’s. In other words, it defines where you leave off, and I begin. Different kinds of relationships have different boundaries.
Boundaries fall along a spectrum:
Enmeshed Healthy Rigid
(too close, ill defined) (clear, appropriate, comfortable) (too far apart, inflexible)
1.Pitfall #1: Trying to change someone else’s behavior.
- In reality, we set boundaries by changing our own actions, not by coercing or manipulating others.
2.Pitfall #2: Using words to set a boundary.
- Actions set boundaries, not words. Oral demands lead to power struggles.
For example, if while playing a boardgame, a child cheats, asking the child to change her behavior crosses boundaries and doesn’t work. Instead, put the game away, and do something else.
You teach people how to treat you – with your actions (not your words).
- You are always doing this.
- It’s best to set boundaries early (the sooner, the better).
- It’s easier to relax firm boundaries then tighten flexible/unclear ones.
Lessons from “The Ownership Yard”
This post is taken from my book “The Ownership Yard.” http://www.amazon.com/The-Ownership-Y…Read an excerpt from Chapter 1
There are three things in your life that you have total control over and, thus, “own.”
You own your:
You do not (and cannot) own others’:
Makes sense, right? Easy enough.
At the beginning of this chapter is a drawing of a house. Imagine you are the house.
Only what you can control is in your yard. In your yard are your thoughts, feelings, and actions. These are the three things in life that you truly own. No one can steal them. No one can use them. No one can borrow, destroy, or control them. Because you own your thoughts, feelings, and actions, you also own the consequences – both good and bad.
Outside your yard are other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. Who owns other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions? You got it! They do.
Everyone owns their thoughts, feelings, and actions, as well as the consequences – both good and bad. You cannot own other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. You cannot steal them. You cannot borrow them. You cannot destroy them. And, you cannot control them.”
Check out Amazon to see more of the book!
Thanks for reading and let your garden grow!