Thank you for stopping by the Mindfulness Painting Newsletter Blog. The Newsletter and Blog are written to weave creativity into the fabric of mental health.
I had a revelation today. I recently asked to set a boundary with a friend, and she got pretty angry. She refused to honor my request. What do you do when that happens to you? I’ve been learning to set boundaries for years. I know there is not a one size fits all approach. But I was shocked that she would not respect my request. I thought boundaries were a good thing that everyone would honor. I’m such an idealist! LOL! Clearly, many people don’t like when boundaries are set. Some don’t mind at all. It can be confusing.
First, what’s a boundary anyway? It’s not an impermeable wall. It is the place where we meet each other. If we don’t define our personal limits, without knowing where I stop and you begin, how do we feel safe? When I openly state my boundaries, I honor the unique self of all individuals, me included. It may seem it threatens to destroy a connection, but it only stops us from connecting in old ways that have dishonored one or both of us. Instead, I hope to make the connection clear at the very place where we engage; to deepen our connection collaboratively.
What do you do when you set a boundary? Well, first you pay attention. Where are your nonexistent or unhealthy boundaries? Start by exploring your comfort level in specific situations with the goal of setting better boundaries. Then get support from your true friends to start living at that boundary. And prepare for resistance.
There are different types and situations that make it necessary to set a boundary. They include physical, sexual, intellectual, emotional, and financial boundaries. It’s probably obvious to you why setting boundaries is important but surprisingly not to everyone. For example, when intimacy is misinterpreted as carte blanche to cross boundaries, boundaries seem threatening. To set one can then result in anger, resentment and/or anxiety for you and the other person.
I was not prepared for the sadness I experienced after having my boundary rejected. It’s hard because some people don’t respect others’ boundaries or don’t see their value. If you are on the side of being infringed upon, it’s so important to claim your power. You also need to be prepared for the relationship to change or at least be renegotiated. In fact, setting a boundary is meant to be a renegotiation, not a demand. It is usually meant to improve the relationship, but as it is collaborative, we have to honor the other person if they do not want to deal with that change. So, it’s always possible a relationship will end if you try to set boundaries. And that’s hard.
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Jody Tompros, Intuitive Artist & LCSW
Mindfulness Painting Experience: Creating Art from the Soul
Reston, VA 20191
My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org