I must admit, setting boundaries is something I've never been very good at. In fact, I never even knew that I had a problem with this until last year. We've all been there, stuck in bad relationships/friendships with toxic people who suck the life out of you and drive you crazy. I just always thought it was the right thing to do to give people second chances (or third..or fourth...) and to accept people as they are. I still find this to be somewhat true. After all, I'm human and I make mistakes just like everyone else...I'm not perfect so I can't expect perfection from anyone else, right? However, without boundaries, we are willing to let people treat us however they wish and use us at their disposal. That is not what makes a healthy relationship.
Here is where the cold, hard truth comes into play..if you take away anything from this post, take away this...
WE TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO TREAT US!
That's a tough pill to swallow, isn't it? It has been for me at least. All my life I wanted to be liked by everyone. I'm a people pleaser and always have been (although this is something I'm working on changing). I never wanted to rock the boat or make anyone upset. Therefore, I didn't really have any boundaries. I might as well have had a sign around my neck that said "Take advantage of me! Walk all over me! I'm okay with it!"...sound familiar? I think a lot of people have this problem. They are the "nice" people. Then, one day they explode and everyone wonders what happened. You invest all of your time, love and energy into people who do not do the same for you. You find yourself surrounded by self centered people and shallow relationships. You can't be yourself or let your guard down because someone might not like what they see.
The thing is, we teach people how to treat us. When I heard this for the first time, it hit me like a ton of bricks. By accepting people's bad behavior and abuse of our relationship/friendship, I was actually encouraging it! They weren't the ones missing out, I was. I was missing out on true relationships where both parties are selfless and encouraging to one another. If y'all read my blog about my battle with anxiety and depression, I think a lot of those problems are tied into the fact that I never set boundaries.
You deserve healthy relationships. You deserve to be happy and have people around you that will be there for you no matter what, not just when they need something from you. I learned about this when I went to Onsite (also mentioned in my previous blog). If any of you are interested in learning more about Onsite, please check out their website here. You don't have to be anxious or depressed to go. You just have to be open to changing the things in your life that you don't like and be open to the experience. I will admit there were a lot of things that we did that I didn't understand until months after my stay there. There are several programs and the one I went to is called Living Centered. If you feel stuck, it's the perfect program for you. I'd love to go back (heck, I'd love to live there actually) and go to their other programs.
With all that being said, we show people what we are willing to put up with and tolerate. This doesn't mean, never forgive and stay mad at people. I'm a strong believer in forgiveness, as I have had to forgive people even when they weren't sorry. It's part of being a Christian and it's part of freeing yourself...after all, the people who have done you wrong probably aren't worried about you or your feelings or else they wouldn't treat you the way that they do. I believe in second chances but I also believe in standing your ground. When you start respecting yourself and being firm with your boundaries, you will earn the respect of those around you and will weed out the toxic people in your life. You may go from 100 friends to 5, but those 5 people will be the ones who truly know you and love you unconditionally. You will develop stronger relationships instead of superficial friendships that aren't built on much substance.
So, treat yourselves well and remember that you are worthy and deserving of a life that is full of people who appreciate you!