I have been attending this course for 3 weeks now on boundaries with the church I regularly attend. When I first signed up for it, I was not really into it. I didn’t want to pay the money and really I thought it was for people with ‘real issues’. When I arrived, I thought wow I am the youngest here by a far maybe I should quit. Now looking back I am glad that I kept doing it as I learned so much! I realized this boundaries course was exactly what I needed. I’m going to tell you a little bit of what I have learned and I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.
For a 22 year old I have been through quite a bit which resulted in mental health illnesses such as depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. In my opinion, I think my mental illness is also responsible for my lack of physical health. I am ALWAYS injured (I think my physiotherapists are sick of me LOL) and it prevents me from carrying out everyday tasks pain free. It is just as frustrating for me as it is for my medical health professionals.
I often felt embarrassed about sharing my struggles as I saw it as an imperfection. For a person that loves to be right and perfect, I couldn’t bear letting people know that this wasn’t the case. My other thought was who could love a person with illnesses like this? My boundary consisted of a strong steel wall that no one could go in or out. I think the embarrassment accompanied with the lack of trust I had for people and resulted in me not wanting to reveal information to anyone.
This is no way to live. Fear of mistrust cannot be the basis of how I live my life. Why? Well because it is simply a painful way of living life. You will go through life alone which makes you miserable. Well that’s where I was at anyway. Human beings are relational beings. We are made to be in relationship with people – living life together. To deprive oneself of relationship is to deprive yourself of a basic human quality. I also learned if people didn’t love me at my ‘worst’ they surely did not deserve me at my best. So their loss.
My boundary has soften since starting this course. The book that goes along with the course (which I highly recommend reading) Boundaries by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend describes having a boundary like a white picket fence with a gate. You use the gate to allow positive ideas/thoughts/individuals, etc in and still have the power to leave other unhelpful things outside of the gate. One question that was posed to me during the course which I am posing to you is if you are too busy kicking everyone out of your ‘house’, how are you going to receive the good things that are coming your way? The answer is you just don’t.
I feel like there are a lot of people like me that use their hurt from their past as a basis to have a boundary that is made of steel that keeps everyone out. If they don’t get in, they don’t hurt you. I’m not writing this to say you are wrong because the fact of the matter is you are trying to protect your heart. It is a normal reaction. Take this as something to think about, some people are good and others not so much but is it worth pushing out the genuinely good people that are there to help and encourage you out of fear of hurt?
Humans are humans and they will make mistakes – some that are that big that change the course of your life. I know my situation definitely changed the course of my life and added A LOT difficulties to me everyday life. In contrast, there have been some beautiful human beings that I have met that have given me so much love. My physiotherapist is one of them and I am forever grateful for the encouragement and love. She has in a way saved my life. She’s one person willing to go past the professional relationship to help a person like me in need. There could be one person like that for you, if you would just let them in.
I hope this was good food for thought.