Let’s talk about boundaries today, y’all. I am 38 years old and have just realized for the first time that people will do anything they can to overstep your boundaries. Seriously. I know some of you are like, Damn, that is naive Missy, and you are right. How naive of me! I truly used to think that if you set your boundaries and told a normal person, like a family member, someone you love and who loves you, that they will respect those boundaries. They usually didn’t. And when they did not respect them I made excuses for them. Like, Well, they must be going through a lot right now, so I will just pretend like I didn’t set those boundaries and I will just let them mow right through them. Eek. That’s not good.
What are boundaries even? Well, some are just absolute truths about yourself that people should know and respect. One of mine is that I am painfully honest. So if you tell me to be honest with you, I will. You don’t have to force me, or ask me more than once. I am very comfortable in complete honesty. I can sit in truth for long periods of time, even the uncomfortable kind. And if you are new to this, it can be hard to be around me. But it is something that people know about me, it’s a boundary that I have. The particular wording for this boundary might be that I will not accept lies, or half-truths, or bullshit. I did that for too long. I know a few people who have their own, opposite boundaries when it comes to truth, and I try to respect those, but we don’t have the best time together. I will never be fully open with someone who can’t accept my complete truth and the way I approach it. Because truth should be universal, but it isn’t, that’s where my boundary gets tripped up. And I have spent more time than I would like taking shots about telling the truth. Having family members try to shush me. Trying to guilt me one way or another into not telling the truth. Usually they are just afraid I will say something bad about them, but what they don’t get is this is my truth. That’s all I share. If they are in my truth they are in my truth, I can’t photoshop them out of memory. Believe me, I wish some people I could.
Another boundary I have is that I expect kindness. Not niceness. I don’t want to be around someone who is fake and who does things and says things for accolades. I want kind people. The real, salt-of-the-Earth, honest (because that goes hand in hand with kindness) people. I want to surround myself with people who do selfless acts and tell no one. Not a soul. Those my people. It’s like donating to a charity. Jerimiah and I do that regularly, and sometimes I share it online in order to guilt other people into doing it. (Hey, some people only work from a place of shame and guilt, just ask Mama Brene.) But I don’t do it to say, “Look at me! Look what I did!” I don’t need a pat on the back to know I did the right thing, I do the right thing because I know it needs done. And some people can’t respect that. Don’t understand that. And will spend many, many days and nights showing me how they are “nice,” but not kind.
Sometimes boundaries are actual, physical boundaries. Have you ever went in for a hug with someone and they sort of stiffened up? Or backed away? Or put their hand out for a handshake? Take note of that. They are telling you they have a boundary. A physical one. Not me. I’m a hugger. I often want to hug people I have just met if I get a good vibe from them, but that’s weird, and goes against a lot of people’s boundaries, and some social norms, so I don’t. But once I get the go ahead from you, I mean just one hug, that’s it, I’m done. Hugging all the way. But I do know and love people who do not like to be hugged, and I am absolutely aware, and I try to keep the hugging to a minimum. I also know and love people who have a hard time saying, ‘I love you.” Got it, we can do that in other ways too. But I DO LOVE YOU, YOU ASSHOLES!
Boundaries for your kids is nuts. Not boundaries with your kids, that’s a parenting deal, I mean boundaries for your kids. Like when you have a baby and have all these ways you want to raise them and people just won’t shut the fuck up and let you do it that way. Too many opinions. Too much judgement and shaming. Jerimiah and I had THE hardest time getting our parents to understand that we did not want Jackson to have food, actual food, until his first birthday. Only breast milk and formula as needed. It did not compute to them. How could a child not eat food? Well, he was eating food, the right food for him. Seriously, I know that is weird for some people to hear, but babies absolutely do not need to eat anything other than milk for the first year and they are totally okay and living and all the things. It’s just a hard thing to set boundaries for your kids. Another example, I have always told Jackson that he does not have to hug a single person. Not one. He doesn’t even need to hug me if he doesn’t feel like it. I mean I kid him all the time and tell him to come give me a hug, and he does willingly, because we are all huggers (even Jerimiah although he doesn’t look like it), but I was very clear that he need not hug a second-cousin, once removed that he has never met before. And he won’t if he doesn’t want to. And we have gotten some looks from family and all I can say is, it’s called boundaries people. Learn them, live them, respect them.
Anyway, those are just some boundaries I have been thinking about today. Do you know what some of yours are? Do you talk about them with your family and friends? Your therapist? Therapists are awesome at helping you set boundaries, or learning the tools/language you need to set them yourself. And as usual, I’m here to help to, though I am not a trained professional, I can help you find the resources you need.
Sending love and hugs, and wishes that your boundaries are respected today and everyday.