Sometimes we feel like we’re walking a narrow pathway, one missed step, and it could all fall apart. But what if those narrow roads are guidelines intended for our own protection? What if it wasn’t just to keep us in, but to keep bad things out?
Good boundaries have gates.
Settings boundaries is hard. It’s hard with ourselves, hard with others. And sometimes it’s hard to know where the lines ought to be. How far is too far? How much is too much?
It’s easy to close in on myself. It’s easier to put up walls and not allow anyone in. I might sit there and smile, and engage well enough, but there’s a huge difference between being in a room with a person, and allowing that person to truly know you.
I’ve struggled with this. Why is it so hard? Why do I push people away when what I truly long for is connection? Why do I feel trampled, and like anyone could be let in?
I was having a conversation with a close friend at church the other day. I know it’s church, it’s a public place, so others might be around and interrupt. Some of these interactions seem less invasive than others. And I feel so guilty sometimes for being judgmental when there are certain people I wish would just leave me alone.
But anyway, this friend is one of the VERY few people I feel I don’t need to wear a mask with. I know that God orchestrated our friendship, and we needed each other to walk through this life together. I’m so incredibly thankful for her.
We were talking about difficulties we were having, it wasn’t exactly a conversation that invites interruptions. We moved to a corner… I don’t know how to talk about people who don’t understand personal space. Especially when those people push physical contact. I feel violated on some level, and don’t know how to just say no. I feel rude turning away. I know there are mental issues there. I also know he makes both of us incredibly uncomfortable.
My friend needed a friend that day. And I feel on some level that I should have been the one to defend against the unwanted intruder.
Writing this here, I feel I need to write out, and maybe discuss with my husband, ways of handling this person and the situation. How to be kind, without allowing things I’m really uncomfortable with.
I have another friend who is so good about setting boundaries. She’s an older INFJ and I look up to her and admire her so much. I have a lot to learn. Maybe I should talk to her about this too. I did once before, and that situation was resolved, but maybe it’s time to have that conversation again. She’s so kind and diplomatic while also firmly stating what she will and will not go along with.
I feel this is still an area I really need to grow in. I’ve come a fair way from where I was, but I’m still plagued by guilt whenever there is an opportunity for boundary setting, whether I do or don’t set the boundary.
This post is kind of me processing… Thank you for letting me do that here.
Do you have any tips on keeping or setting good and healthy boundaries?