I have talked a lot these past few months about making personal boundaries, how to make them and how to enforce them. Now I’d like to talk about some of my experiences once my own personal boundaries were firmly in place.
The one thing I was most surprised by was how easy it became once I started enforcing them. The first few times were the hardest and there were many times I felt myself wanting to fall back into my old habits of letting people slide and giving them another chance, but I knew that the chance I would be doling out would be another chance for them to try to hurt me by crossing my boundaries, so I stuck with the plan. That was so hard for me to do, but I did it.
Now I enforce my personal boundaries without even blinking.
That’s the other surprising part! I am finding that I have to think about it less and less. There are two reasons for that. One is that the people most likely to cross them are becoming fewer and fewer, but the other thing is that it has become easier for me to spot folks that I know won’t respect my boundaries and so I move on, instead of becoming involved or friendly. Honestly, what this kind of person would add to my life really isn’t worth the crap I’d have to eat in order to find the quality, so why bother? There are so many other people out there that add brilliance without pain. Why not spend my time with them?
When I tell you that the toxic people in my life are becoming fewer…does that mean I have less friends now?
That’s the other surprise! At one time I thought I would end up with absolutely no friends at all once I realized how many people I had allowed in my life that had no respect for me and constantly abused my friendship. When I started making those separations, it scared me too. I truly thought I would end up alone because there were so many toxic friendships I needed to break from.
I even had one person threaten me with this fate. “You keep cutting people out of your circle and one day you’re going to be all alone in that circle!” That platitude actually frightened me! But it didn’t frighten me enough to abandon my plan.
The truth is that I have more good friends now and I am not standing alone in my circle. I do not believe I will ever be alone in my circle because I am a good friend and the people that know that and respect that are the ones that have filled the space left behind by the people that left or were pushed out. That is what happens once you start respecting yourself and enforcing your personal boundaries. The ones in your life that shine the brightest are the ones that fill those empty spaces and that is what you truly want to have in your life.
One of my friends told me that she admires this ability I have to cut out the bad guys. She hesitated before telling me that she thought I was ruthless because I knew exactly what I would not tolerate and I got rid of it. I have to confess, finally figuring this out has made my life a lot more blissful and easy. I hope that in sharing my own trials it helps make someone else find bliss in their own friendships because that is how a friendship is supposed to feel. Blissful.
Not everyone was happy with my new found personal boundaries though…
There were the friends that refused to acknowledge my need to have personal boundaries. They pooh-poohed the whole process with statements like “You can’t treat everyone the same!” or “You shouldn’t punish everyone just because of what someone else did!” That surprised me, but I knew where they were coming from. These were friends that feared the boundaries. They feared them because deep down they knew that someday they would cross them too.
Besides if this was how they thought I was processing what was happening to me, then they really had not been listening to me.
The cant’s and the shouldn’ts are words used to initiate control.
I don’t feel ruthless, but I do feel empowered and I finally feel like I have the right to choose who I surround myself with. You have that same power! You can control who you allow to take part in your destiny and your daily life! You have the right to say NO when someone hurts you. Why would you ever want to be around someone that constantly causes you to doubt yourself? Why would you subject yourself to the pain and anxiety of being beat up every time you make a move, simply so someone will say they are your friend? That’s not how a friend will treat you.
Friendship isn’t supposed to hurt.
In life, you will have enough experiences of positive growth from folks that will pass through. Teachers, pastors, parents, family, employers and a number of persons of authority that have the duty to teach you about life and prepare you to transition from childhood to being an adult. Later in life you will have this same influence as you enter the job market. Their role is to cause you to doubt yourself enough so you learn to make those good decisions by making mistakes along the way. Granted, not everyone will have a perfect experience with these folks either, but that’s why they exist.
Your friends are the family you choose for yourself.
Never allow anyone to guilt you into continuing a toxic and hurtful relationship just because they think this will make you a better person because trust me, it doesn’t make you better.
It makes you less.
Growing up, I was parented by someone that constantly made me feel insecure about my choices. They empowered me to make good decisions by allowing me to make mistakes and to question my choices, and when I made it out into the world of adults, I knew the kind of people I wished to surround myself with. I made excellent choices and have good, wholesome and strong friendships with people from my childhood that I still nurture today. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in this world. They are my treasures.
Today I’d like for you to take an inventory of your own connections out here. Only you can decide if the connections you’ve made in life are ones that make you happy, or make you feel overwhelmed by anxiety. Only you know who truly respects and honors your friendship and only you know the kind of people you want in your life that you can call friend.
Dedicated to my friend Elisabeth, who always surprises me with bubbly exuberance and leaves me with something to think about each time she and I have a conversation. “We need each other!” was given to me as a gift the other day when we talked and it has tolled like a beautiful bell in my head since. Thank you for your lovely words and your treasured thoughts Elisabeth, my friend.
- How to Give Unconditional Love and Have Personal Boundaries (debbrockmann.com)
- 2 things (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Two Types of Personal Boundaries (danedormio.wordpress.com)
- Moxie Monday: Boundaries (writingthefire.wordpress.com)
- Personal Boundaries (silverleafjournal.wordpress.com)
- Topless in Spain (sinpedirperdon.wordpress.com)
- see Me (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Enforcing Boundaries (pushyprophetgirlministries.wordpress.com)
- Managing Personal Boundaries, Part One: Respect Your Self (innerjourneyoutfitters.wordpress.com)