Drawing The Line: The Importance of Boundaries

07 May 2010, by A. Cedilla

Boundaries are vital. Think of them as an extra layer of protection.

Like skin, which thickens in response to pressure to form a protective callus, your boundaries keeps you shielded and functioning under stressful circumstances.

When you recognize and honor your boundaries, you’re enforcing an internal support structure that will keep you in good stead when the going gets rough.

Boundaries are like boxes for clutter.
They help keep scattered-but-related stuff in one location, so you can deal with the whole shebang in one place, and keep them in that one place. You can come back to that one place (mentally or physically) when you’re ready, refreshed or coming back with new data and fresh input.

Boundaries give you the privacy and room to regroup.
You can leave things where they are, and come back when you’re ready. When people respect your boundaries, and you return the same respect, it makes for better relationships and fewer misunderstandings.

Boundaries can protect you from being overrun.
They keep people from running (or walking) over you with their own agendas and then leaving you with ill feelings of being used, or not being respected, or having had to use your energy on an agenda you didn’t want to be a part of.

Drawing the lines sets your boundaries. Honoring your boundaries lets you and other people know what you are and aren’t willing to do.

You know what you’re willing to use your time, life and energy to support, and by showing that respect for yourself, what you do and will (or won’t) stand for, you show other people your strength, an example which in turn can help them find their own.

Boundaries are also important in that they can show you what and where to push past — you get to see what you’re made of by testing your limits.
There is a safety and comfort in knowing these limits. By knowing what you won’t stand for or don’t want, you screen out unwanted things and free yourself to focus on what you do want and would stand for, and vice versa.

Without them you’re unprotected, and that kind of exposure can leave you open to anybody’s whims and personal agendas. Learn where to draw your lines, and keep them.

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