Floating around social media were words of wisdom from actor, Anthony Hopkins. The first line seemed awful harsh, but I was going down the rabbit hole, so I read on. After some recent reading on boundaries, this lesson on “life-wisdom” lured me in. Mr. Hopkins seemed to touch on some very valid hurts on life and love. His many years of experience leave us with some clear steps to take in drawing boundaries for our life, but although boundaries are necessary, I wondered, are they Biblical? As a Christian, haven’t I been called to sacrifice? Give generously to the needs of others? Not make people feel bad?
Let go of people who aren't ready to love you. This is the hardest thing you will ever have to do in your life and it will also be the most important thing. Stop having difficult conversations with people who don’t want to change. Stop showing up for people who have no interest in your presence. I know your instinct is to do everything you can to gain the appreciation of those around you, but it's an impulse that steals your time, energy, mental and physical health.When you start fighting for a life with joy, interest and commitment, not everyone will be ready to follow you to that place. That doesn't mean you have to change who you are, it means you have to let go of people who aren't ready to be with you. If you are excluded, insulted, forgotten or ignored by the people you give your time to, you are not doing yourself a favor by continuing to offer them your energy and your life. Truth is, you're not for everyone and not everyone is for you. This is what makes it so special when you find people that you have friendship or love matched. You will know how precious it is because you've experienced what it isn't. There are billions of people on this planet and a lot of them you will find at your level of interest and commitment. Maybe if you stop showing up, they won't look for you. Maybe if you stop trying, the relationship ends. Maybe if you stop texting, your phone will stay dark for weeks. That doesn't mean you ruined the relationship, it means the only thing that was holding it was the energy that only you gave to keep it. That's not love, that's attachment. It's giving a chance to those who don't deserve it! You deserve so much more. The most valuable thing you have in your life is your time and energy as both are limited.The people and things you give your time and energy to, will define your existence. When you realize this you start to understand why you’re so anxious when you spend time with people, activities or spaces that don’t suit you and shouldn’t be near you. You’ll start to realize that the most important thing you can do for yourself and everyone around you, is to protect your energy more fiercely than anything else. Make your life a safe haven, in which only people "compatible" with you are allowed. You are not responsible for saving anyone. It's not your responsibility to convince them to improve. It's not your job to exist for people and give them your life! You deserve real friendships, true commitments, and complete love with healthy, prosperous people. Deciding to distance yourself from harmful people, will give you the love, esteem, happiness and protection you deserve.
So I took my questions to prayer, to the Author Of All Wisdom!
Speaking the truth in love.
Being the hero. Taking on others problems isn’t empowering them
Signs and sumptoms – anger, resentment, burnout.
People Pleasing – fear of upsetting someone that they lose themselves
I really struggled with the 7 times 70 times passage, thinking it was Christianlike to be a doormat. After all, aren’t we asked to sacrifice for those in need?
Is it me or God through me? My anchors: Nourishment, Sleep/Rest, Soul-Care, Surrounding/Play, Awareness…
Offering a slightly different perspective – Healthy boundaries includes saying no, giving with a generous heart, and speaking truth – all of which Jesus did in his public ministry. My own health journey has taught me that boundaries are not only healthy but necessary to avoid resentment, anger, and burnout.
If the goal in life and work is to feel relaxed, joy-filled, and generous, boundaries were needed, but are they Biblical?Personal boundaries help to limit our selfish inclination to control or manipulate others. Likewise, boundaries protect us from those who have no self-control and who wish to control us. Boundaries are about taking responsibility for ourselves.
Controlling or hero-syndrome
Saying “yes” out of fear of rejection is really a selfish motive for being kind.
Boundaries can be difficult to establish because saying “no” may have been off limits or mistakenly taught as being ungodly. God says to tell the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). God tells us to humbly control ourselves, lovingly confront sin, graciously accept others, and overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Plus, He promises wisdom in every circumstance (James 1:5).
After doing a little deep dive into this topic for myself, I had a better understanding of what boundaries actually were and why they were important.
To know yourself and be secure that you are loved is essential to all relationships and activities. The better your boundaries of self-awareness and self-definition are the greater your capacity to offer empathy and love to others. Good boundaries help you to care for others because you have a stable foundation to operate from and are not distracted or depleted by personal insecurities or blind spots. (That’s why it’s not “selfish” or unloving to have boundaries and “take care of yourself.”)Soul Shepherding