The way you do one thing is the way you do everything. My brother told me this a while ago, and the more I attend therapy, the more his words ring true. When issues rise in various aspects of life there is usually one common thread connecting all the problems. For me, it always starts with a lack of boundary setting.
The idea of boundaries sounds limiting. No one wants to be told what they can and can’t do, especially as an adult. At the same time, I don’t know one person who has achieved a notable level of success without discipline and self-control. Boundaries, in this sense, are essential- not just professionally- in every aspect of life. If boundaries are so necessary then, why do we have trouble setting them?
Problem 1: "I can handle this." We lie to ourselves about our ability to handle a situation. We end up frustrated in repeated predicaments. This is where the connotative definition of insanity comes into play: doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Let me help you. You CAN’T handle this without making a change. I don’t even like using the “c” word, but if our current habits were healthy enough, we wouldn’t repeat situations. In order to break that relationship cycle, job cycle, lack of productivity cycle- whatever the case may be- we have to identify where we are giving away our power and failing to set a boundary.
Problem 2: Inconsistency. We are not perfect. Even the Bible mentions that we all miss the mark sometimes. It’s normal for us to slip back into old habits or patterns of thought. It’s not healthy to stay here, though. If we teach people how to treat us by what we allow, inconsistency opens the door for people to overstep boundaries we are learning to establish. Sometimes the boundaries are just as much for the other people as they are for us. We NEED the space or time to facilitate our growth and they need to learn to respect it.
Problem 3: We rely on hope instead of faith. I’ll be personal about this one. One place I need to set boundaries is when it comes to relationships and past lovers. When they resurface in my life, I entertain them because I’m subconsciously holding on to the dream I had of us and HOPING this time will be different. Unfortunately, putting your hope in people always leads to disappointment because we’re human (and imperfect). If I prioritized my faith in God’s promises to do exceedingly and abundantly above what I could ask or think, I wouldn’t need to hope it works out. We exercise our faith by cutting off what no longer serves us.
We exercise our faith by cutting off what no longer serves us.
At the end of the day, I’m no expert on setting boundaries. In fact my therapist gave me a book to read to work on this. That said, I mentioned in last week’s blog that I can’t and won’t let this year be like the last. This means I have to take action. I’ve chosen to set boundaries for my work time, my romantic interactions and my time with God. I have accountability partners to help keep me balanced, and I’m looking forward to what this season brings. Your turn...