July 30, 2009 by Rieshy
Personal Boundaries?  Personally, mothering seems to be all about constantly shifting boundaries.  But perhaps that is using the wrong definition for the word.  Do healthy personal boundaries change according to circumstance or according to the seasons in one's life?  Or does our ability/inability to maintain healthy boundaries tend to be fairly constant and is merely revealed during stressful seasons?

I've never liked saying no, no often fills me with guilt even when guilt is inappropriate.  I know that I have to say no to almost all commitments other than my family right now.  Jack can't travel and if he comes down with any common illness it can be life-threatening.  His longest hospitalization was because of a simple ear infection that sent his body into a metabolic tailspin.  This no saying has not been easy for me -So I'm thinking that maybe the reasons for our personal limits change with the seasons of life but the ability to handle the changes in our seasons of life is tied to our ability to set boundaries.  Boundary setting transcends circumstances?  

My friend Kathy recently shared with me some notes she had from a talk given by another friend, Janina Tiner on the topic of boundaries.  Janina told me that she based some of her talk on  Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take .... by Cloud and Townsend.  With Janina's permission I thought I'd share some of the notes- the parts I understood anyway:)  I wish I had gotten to hear Janina talk.

What a boundary is and what it is not

A boundary is not a threat.
A boundary is something that I do for myself regardless of what you do.
A boundary is not about you changing.
A boundary is about protecting and respecting myself.
We set boundaries to teach others how to treat us.
It is especially important to distinguish between a healthy boundary and a wall.
One of the hardest things to accept about boundaries is that boundaries aren't fair.
We must accept total responsibility for maintaining our boundaries.

Some Good Rules In Boundary Setting

"No" is a complete sentence. (I laughed when I read this.)
Just because a question has been asked does not mean that you have to answer it. 
Just because someone phones, does not mean that you have to answer it.
Most people have an internal clock that determines the amount of time they need in order to process an question or request.  Know yours and be true to it.
Self-Care is NOT Self-ish.
Put your hands down and let God be your Defender.
When we do something for someone else (without seeking their direct permission) who is capable of doing it for themselves, then we have violated a boundary.
When we want something more for someone else than they want it for themselves, then we have moved into control and have violated a boundary.
When I am in FEAR and move into CONTROL, I have essentially set myself up to be retaliated against.

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