Boundaries

Hello my zebras and spoonies thank you for coming and hanging out with me. I’m really glad that you’re here today. I’m going to be talking about boundaries. It’s something that I talk about a lot because I think that it’s super important. So, what are boundaries? Let’s start at the basics. Setting boundaries is about listening to yourself and your inner voice, and drawing social lines where you are made uncomfortable. So everyone’s boundaries are different, and that’s really super important because that necessitates that we as mature, responsible adults need to communicate with each other about where our boundaries are. We can never assume that other people know what our boundaries are or that we know what other people’s boundaries are because everyone is different, and their comfort zones are different. We all have things that could trigger past traumas or trigger sensory issues or whatever. We all have different things that make us feel uncomfortable or unsafe in our lives, and those are the areas in our social interactions that we need to draw boundaries. So setting boundaries is an act of self respect and an act of self preservation. It is the most essential act of self care. When someone does something to you that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable. It comes with a mental health cost. It uses spoons that are so very essential in our lives and we can’t afford to be wasting spoons on stupid stuff that we just shouldn’t be wasting them on; so boundaries can help us with this by just saying to someone, hey this is my boundary. And then, holding them to that.

The thing about boundaries is that you need to be respectful, you need to say, “When you do this, it makes me feel this and therefore I would like you to not do that,” and open up a dialogue of maybe how you can meet in the middle, and how you can negotiate a compromise. Clearly some things, and some boundaries have to be black and white: no hitting. That’s a boundary everybody should have. But other things like when you yell, even if you’re excited and happy, It makes me feel really anxious and upset, and I would prefer that we use quieter voices. And if this space cannot be quiet, then I will need to take time in another space to decrease my stimulus, so that I can feel okay. That’s setting a boundary, and that’s okay, and respectful people are going to either try to make a quieter environment, or facilitate you having a place so that you can go and get that quiet space that you need.

Having boundaries doesn’t mean that you don’t respect someone, or that you aren’t grateful for having their relationship. It means that you are expecting that relationship to go two ways, it means that you expect this person to honor your needs for a sense of safety and security in your life because that is a basic human need, and we have the right to protect ourselves and make sure that we feel safe, even if it doesn’t make sense to someone else, even if that isn’t a trigger of feeling unsafe for someone else. That doesn’t matter. If it makes you feel uncomfortable and unsafe, then it is worthy of a social boundary and boundaries are really important for a lot of reasons. And first of all is because it creates a sense of safety and comfort in your space, which is an essential need. We need to feel safe in order to work on other things. So that’s the first piece. But the other piece is that boundaries help us understand each other, and it helps us be respectful with each other and it helps us engage in this social dance, because everyone’s needs are not the same. And if we don’t draw our boundaries clearly with each other, then we will inevitably crossover boundaries, because we don’t see them, and we aren’t aware of them, and we don’t do it out of disrespect or hate, but we do it out of boundary blindness. So, it is necessary that these boundaries are communicated and drawn.

Sometimes drawing boundaries can create social conflict. And sometimes it’s because people don’t understand why. I have misophonia and sometimes sounds are really uncomfortable for me. And I have to remove myself from the stimulus, because it is physically painful for me to be present in certain sounds. And people who don’t have this sensory issue often look at me, perplexingly and don’t understand this problem. And it’s okay that they don’t understand; they don’t have to understand, but they do need to be respectful of my needs, even if it’s not something that they understand. You don’t need to share someone’s experience and you don’t need to fully understand someone’s experience to be respectful of someone’s needs.

So sometimes boundaries, being expressed creates conflict, especially if you have not been drawing boundaries in your relationships, and you’re now starting to. This change raises questions and confusion, because you’re changing the dynamic of a relationship and that’s very difficult. So oftentimes that pushback isn’t about the boundary but it is about the change of the dynamic and the change of the pattern and the confusion that comes with that. And we do need to address that and sometimes we just need to have conversations and say hey you know, I’ve been working on me, and lately I feel like one of the things that I need to do is draw better boundaries in my social relationships, you know, put that on the table; there’s nothing wrong with being open about that.

If people are not willing to respect your boundaries. And they repeatedly, push back over and over and over again and ridicule you for you’re having boundaries and are super disrespectful about your boundaries. And I don’t mean just questioning like why is that a thing, I mean like really being hateful about it. I would want you to question if this person should be a part of your life. Do you want people in your life that don’t care if you are feeling unsafe and uncomfortable in the environment in which you’re residing? Think about that again. Ask yourself that question again. Do you want people in your life who do not care about your sense of personal safety? Because disrespecting your boundaries is a disregard of your sense of personal safety. So I’m just gonna leave you with that thought, and I hope you come hang out with me again. You guys take care of yourself and draw clear boundaries.

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