Today I come to you (or actually you come to me, I guess) to talk about one of my favorite subjects: BOUNDARIES!!! (I wish I had those party emojis because they’d surely be all over this post) No, that’s not sarcasm, I really do get amped up talking about limits in relationships. Now, I’m no expert; I’ve had experiences where I’ve done it wrong and some when I’ve done it right. My enthusiasm comes from the confidence I have in my viewpoint and my frustrations in the harmful practices that are becoming common.
I feel so much pride when I see someone draw the line in the sand, but I have to hold back the whole parade (pretend there’s that fingernail painting emoji here) when I see them enforce it. You can hoot and holler all you want about what you will and won’t allow, but it’s those times when you’re being pushed and you have to choose what’s most important that mean everything.
The mentality of “You can’t come here” can be borne of strength or of fear. It’s not the words, it’s the reasoning. Sure, it’s wise to limit access to yourself in certain ways and in certain scenarios, but a person should not have to fight you to love you. We romanticize this whole notion of someone being valiant and going to war to break down all of our walls, but two things are wrong with that (to me): 1. What about them? In what way are you facing adversity to do the same for them? I mean, you’re a prize and all but… come on. 2. In my eyes, the whole, act of breaking down my walls is a dangerous gray area. I see it as a consent issue. What if I’m sensibly protecting myself? Why are we assuming I need to be rescued from within the bounds I’ve set? If I say stop, you stop. I should be self-assured enough to not give you mixed signals and you should be respectful enough to follow them.
The other day a friend told me she liked a guy but felt uncomfortable because she asked him to give her space (aka maybe we only see each other once a week instead of four) and his response was along the lines of “I don’t think I can only see you once a week, but we can slim it down to 3 times a week (or something like that)”. I tried not to spit literal fire, but in my mind the whole time I’m thinking “WHAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!!!???????” You cannot give someone permission to have boundaries. You are either violating them or you’re not. There is no in between and there is no negotiation. Now they may change what those boundaries are through compromise, but whatever they decide is not a la carte. Though it may be said in the form of a question, what they’re really doing is requesting your compliance, not your approval.
Now I know I’m very tenacious when it comes to this. I probably should (definitely need to) soften up, but only to the point that my principles don’t hinder an otherwise healthy relationship. However, I’ve seen more people taken advantage of out of fear of appearing mean, than I’ve seen people lose out for being too strict. An alarm starts blaring in my head when someone starts challenging something I’ve explicitly said ‘no’ or ‘not yet’ to. I don’t keep everything about me under lock and key (as my blog shows, I’m quite open), but the things that I do, are there for a reason and the harder you push, the harder I’ll push you back.
It all comes back to a distinct lack of respect and a heightened sense of entitlement. Being in any kind of relationship will always come with a different set of responsibility and privileges with the other person because each of us are different. Though there are similarities across the board, their details are as unique as they are. So again, as I said, I get fiery about this subject and I beg you all to really think about what you’re asking of others and what you’re giving to others. Don’t be afraid to say no or yes when the situation is right.