There is a bell on your gate that rings whenever someone pushes it. You put that bell there so that when someone is about to cross the threshold of your home you are warned. The bell also works when you pull the gate to leave your home. You don’t need the bell to sound when you are leaving home, but silencing it will mean that you will not know when your gate has been pushed. It is a two way street, the gate tells you when someone is entering and it tells the world when you are leaving your home.
Gates with bells remind me of boundaries.
When I set a boundary I tell the other person this is the line that I don’t want you to cross. It also says that this is the line that I am not going to cross. I cannot control the other person, so (s)he may cross the boundary. When that happens I cannot acquiesce, I cannot smile and say. “It’s okay,” or “I will join you.” I have to maintain the line, remind the other of the boundary and be unwavering in my stance.
I need to lead by example; my thoughts, words and actions must give a clear demonstration of what not crossing the boundary looks like. I cannot be wishy washy and I cannot go with the flow.
Boundaries are tricky things. While I am fairly decent at setting them for other people, I was recently reminded that when I set a boundary it exists for me as well. Sometimes I think that because I set the boundary I can control it. I can move it when I want or shift it as I see fit. That does not work. When I shift the boundary, the bell rings, the world notices the open gate and events rush in, creating havoc and ruining my peace.
When I break my boundary I betray myself, when I break my boundary I am sending mixed messages, when I break my boundary I have to take what I get and then clean up the aftermath. After the clean up, I need to gently and kindly forgive myself for breaking the boundary and then I press reset.
Have you ever broken your boundary? Tell me how and what did you do?