Alt SS — Limits, Boundaries and RespiteBy: Stephen Marsh
Setting boundaries — an essential skill — and one more people need experience with, to the point that like the gentle art of verbal self defense, we ought to have lessons on it as a part of the four year curriculum. Until there is a better book, I’d just use Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life. There is also some good material on-line — including excellent worksheets. But just like I think more people in the Church need to have some background in how to be a grandparent, or how to deal with verbal abuse, an important lesson for many is how to set boundaries.
Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances — Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions — Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others — Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator — Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask: – Can I set limits and still be a loving person? – What are legitimate boundaries? – What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? – How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? – Aren’t boundaries selfish? – Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?
Think about that quote. Now consider, how many people complain about:
- Not feeling free to have their own thoughts and opinions on things (as if they are being overwhelmed by the conservatives or the liberals in their wards)?
- Not feeling like they can say no when someone asks for time, money or energy?
- Feeling as if others are manipulating them or are trying to manipulate them?
I know, Oprah is out there telling people about boundaries. http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Begin-to-Set-Personal-Boundaries_1
- Setting Boundaries in Recovery | Sober Nation – Recovery Resourceswww.sobernation.com/setting-boundaries/
Dec 15, 2011 – Boundaries. Emotions do not define us, they are a form of internal communication that help us to understand ourselves. It is important for us to …
But what I am suggesting is more than simple steps and more than just niche resources here and there or shells for advertising.
I’m suggesting that we have at least one lesson a year on how to set boundaries and how to respect the boundaries of others.
To start with the rights you have to expect from others to do and not to do and how to protect yourself (awareness — for everyone).
To practice how to set boundaries with others, with dialog and practice forms. And I mean simple, direct and complete dialogs. Like Oprah suggests, only 7-8 pages of them.
e.g. (quoting from Oprah)
Use simple, direct language.
- To set a boundary with an angry person:
“You may not yell at me. If you continue, I’ll have to leave the room.”
- To set a boundary with personal phone calls at work:
“I’ve decided to take all personal calls in the evening in order to get my work done. I will need to call you later.”
- To say no to extra commitments:
“Although this organization is important to me, I need to decline your request for volunteer help in order to honor my family’s needs.”
- To set a boundary with someone who is critical:
“It’s not okay with me that you comment on my weight. I’d like to ask you to stop.”
- To buy yourself time when making tough decisions:
“I’ll have to sleep on it, I have a policy of not making decisions right away.”
- To back out of a commitment:
“I know I agreed to head up our fundraising efforts, but after reviewing my schedule, I now realize that I won’t be able to give it my best attention. I’d like to help find a replacement by the end of next week.
- To set a boundary with an adult child who borrows money:
“I won’t be lending you money anymore. I love you and you need to take responsibility for yourself.”
Have a lesson that explains that setting boundaries teaches you:
- To understand yourself, what is you and what is society (where are your internal boundaries).
- How and what to say to set boundaries
- To not feel guilty about setting boundaries.
A lesson like this does three things. First, it teaches people how to set boundaries. Second, it educates people about where and what the appropriate boundaries are — and that setting boundaries — really setting them — is appropriate. Third, it provides external validation that certain behaviors cross boundaries. It gives people strength in setting boundaries if they have examples of how to set a boundary that points out that the boundary they want to set is appropriate (after all, it is in the lesson manual), the other person’s behavior is wrong (see the manual), and this is what they should be doing without feeling guilt.
What do you think? What examples would you include in the lesson manual?