Courage Integrity Assertiveness Confidence Restraint

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Setting Appropriate Boundaries...

I was talking to a girl today, let's call her Liza, who was troubled deeply by the actions of another girl toward Liza's boyfriend. The other girl was using crude language about her own "experiences" and even touched Liza's boyfriend in an intimate way and kissed him on the lips when she said "goodbye."

Liza was horribly offended at the way this girl was acting IN FRONT of Liza and a whole group of other people, too. She said to me, "I am truly NOT a prude, but she really crossed the line!"

I asked Liza if she said anything to her boyfriend about how she was feeling. She told me she vented to her girlfriends about it to get it out of her system but hadn't said anything to her boyfriend b/c she didn't want to come across as a "nag" and she didn't want him to think she was being "petty" about the situation.

I asked her if she said anything to the other girl. She said she didn't say anything at all to her but she reacted to the girl in a way that was NOT typically how she treated people. I asked her to explain. She said, "I was mean. She would ask me a question and I would throw an answer back that was loud and borderline inappropriate."

I asked her how that made her feel.
"I didn't like it. It's not 'me' to act that way. I hated the way I felt about how I acted."

We talked some more and tried to get to the bottom of WHY she felt she COULDN'T make her feelings known by speaking her mind as she watched the situation play out. She came to the conclusion that she was afraid of people thinking she was a prude. So afraid that she was ready to just let all these actions slide hoping they would go away.

Now, I can ask you...will this situation just go away?

No. You know it won't. And, quite honestly, she knows it won't.

So, Liza and I had a long talk about BOUNDARIES! Obviously this other girl has broader boundaries than Liza... one can see that by her roaming hands and lips and her off-color words and comments.

I am always amazed that this is a recurring issue with girls around the globe. Girls who have tighter boundaries seem to feel as though they are inconveniencing people by expecting them to act more appropriately.

Let me ask you this, imagine you are babysitting at the park and while you cautiously watch the little boy who has been entrusted to you for the afternoon, you look up to see a little girl run toward the gate that someone has left open. You grab the little boy you are watching and remind him to NEVER leave the fenced area. As you continue to watch, you can see the baby(bench)sitter is texting. When you glance toward the little escape artist you see she has left the fenced area and is headed down a hill toward a busy intersection. Her little feet are moving way too fast to stop at the bottom.

But, rather than inconvenience the texting sitter, you take your little boy's hand and turn to head back to the swings. You wouldn't want her to think you were petty by expecting her to have the same boundaries as you.

Does that seem ridiculous? Of course it does!

So, back to Liza and her boyfriend and the boundary-pushing girl...

By not expecting the other girl to respect her boundaries, Liza was allowing the other girl to SET the boundaries FOR her. She was giving all of her power away.

We set boundaries to stay safe, to be comfortable and to stand up for what we believe to be right and true and good. When we don't make those boundaries clear, we fall victim to the poor choices of others. We allow situations into our lives that will bring us pain and heartbreak.

Liza has every right to set the following boundaries (and any others she feels strongly about) with anyone who comes into her life:

Do NOT use offensive/suggestive language when in my presence
Do NOT put your hands/lips on my significant other

You have the right to make these boundaries known. It's not easy and you risk having people make judgements about your boundaries. But, I can tell you from experience, being a "Goody-Two-Shoes" can build your self-esteem MUCH further than being accepted into a group that prides itselfs in inappropriate behaviors. Taking part in things that go against your boundaries will do more harm than good, It will break your spirit and make you question WHO you really ARE.

Tomorrow I will share a personal story about boundaries!
Stay Tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment