Finding Boundaries

I have always prided myself on being nice.  Growing up, it was very much a learned thing.  My parents would always stress being generous to others, which I completely agree with and have tried to impart on my step-kids.  I remember being in third grade and there was one kid who had no friends and was picked on.  He was bigger and smelled; he was probably living in poverty and who knows what else.  I realized that Sam (I don’t know if that’s his real name) never had anyone to sit with, and in lines to lunch, nobody would stand close to him.  I recall talking to my mom about it and she told me to sit with him at lunch.  So I did.  I ate with him.  I don’t have any more memory of the situation other than this, but it did stick in my head.

Being nice has become such a huge part of who I am, it’s one of the three core things of myself that I hold on to.  No matter who it is, I will always look for a piece of good in them.  They could be the worst person in the world and I’d try to find something in them that I appreciated.  It’s part of who I am.  I will try my hardest to reach out and do what I can to help others in need.  Selflessness is something I strive for on a daily basis.  For example, today at group, someone had only 3 hours of sleep and was struggling to stay awake.  I went to the store and got him a RedBull so he could stay awake on the drive home.  I didn’t need to.  It was out of my way and took me some time and $6.  But it was worth it to me and I’m glad I did.  Small things like this are very important to me.  I love doing it, but sometimes it will cause an unusual issue.

Boundaries.  Personal boundaries are something I’ve struggled with my whole life because of my reach for selflessness.  For one, I don’t really know what mine are.  They are usually derived from a feeling of self-worth and the belief that you are worthy of time and respect and your own space.  I have not felt worthy of boundaries most of my life.  I honestly don’t even know what mine would look like.  There is one thing I know I will not accept in any way, shape, or form.  I will not tolerate being beaten or physically abused.  If I’m hit or anything in anger, I’m gone.  I don’t care what is going on or how much I’m/he’s in love.  It’s not acceptable to me.  That however, is all I know.  I don’t know how much of anything else is okay.  By my loved ones or from strangers.  I’ll take all I can, just swallowing my resentment of what I’m doing for others and not being thanked or even acknowledged.  Maybe that’s a boundary of mine?  I need to be acknowledged for going above and beyond and doing a lot of things?

For example, Christmas.  I got all of the presents for every family.  I got them all wrapped myself.  The decorations were all put out by me, including outside and three Christmas trees.  Ornaments for swaps were all picked out by me.  I organized which presents go to which house and how many presents for each child to each home.  I took care of making plans and confirming where we were going to be and when.  I spent two days cleaning my house because we were having visitors over.  I spent a lot of time and mental effort on this Christmas.  And I got no acknowledgement of it.  If there was any, it was just a quick “thanks” kind of thing.  Nothing of significance that I can remember.  So now, because I am thinking that’s a boundary, I have to do the next step.

The next step would be to be assertive and confront the person who violated your boundary.  Don’t worry about being nice or kind.  Assertiveness isn’t being angry or mean, it’s standing up for yourself in a calm manner.  Being honest and fair to them by telling them you are upset by something or that something is not okay.  This terrifies me, I can’t lie.  But, I’m going to do it right now.  I need to practice on smaller boundaries when I find them, so that if a large boundary is crossed (like telling me what to do or that I can’t do something), I am practiced and able to stand up for myself.

What are your boundaries?  Have you had to stand up for yourself when you didn’t feel comfortable doing so?  How did you get the courage to do it?

***Edit: so I did confront Connor about not being appreciated and he responded perfectly and is still saying how much he appreciates all I do every day. Good husband. 🙂

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