What are boundaries?


You know the story of the good samaritan? A man travels from Jerusalem to Jericho and got mugged. Thieves stripped him and beat him, leaving him to die. A priest passed by ignoring the hurt man. A samaritan took pity on him. He bandaged his wounds, brought him to an inn and took care of him.

The next day he paid the inn keeper and said look after him, I have a business meeting and will be back in a few days where I will reimburse you for anything he needs. 

But imagine if the story changed where the good samaritan felt bad because the hurt man begged him not to leave but to take care of him. After a few days the samaritan receives a message from the business associate saying because he missed the meeting he has lost the business opportunity for good. So the samaritan now quietly blames the hurt man because he begged him to stay.

This is what most of us do. We feel good about helping someone else. It’s human nature to help out others in their time of need. Boundaries get blurred here where the hurt or injured person wants more than we can give. 

It can often turn into ‘the blame game.’ Or we want more from someone else and we pressure them until they give in. They give out of compliance rather than their heart and freewill and end up resenting us for what they give. 
Neither person comes out ahead. 

The best boundary is simple to say ‘No.’  When you set boundaries it involves taking responsibility for your own choices. You’re the one that makes them. You have to live the consequences. And you may be keeping yourself from making choices you could be happy with.

It’s only by saying ‘No’ that you concentrate on the things that are really important
— Steve Jobs

Boundary setting let’s people know your decision. It may sometimes come across as direct. There are many ways to say ‘No’ gently but firmly. The word ‘no’ is an important setting to stop abuse or being taken advantage of. It may also empower others to deal with their own lives and learn from their choices.

Saying ‘no’ can set you free. 

How often do you wish you said ‘no’ to a person or situation that wasn’t in either of your best interests? 

Life lessonsCaria WattComment