• Christina LoBianco

The Importance of Boundaries

There seems to be a lot of people who get offended at things as simple as another person's opinion of something. They get defensive and angry when another opinion is not what they think or feel (I'm not saying I'm blameless, as I catch myself doing this from time to time... I've never claimed to be perfect). One thing I would like you all to consider is one word with an extensive definition: Boundaries.

Healthy boundaries mean having the ability to keep an opinion on something while respecting others who have a different opinion. It means that I can be a cat person while respecting you for your love of dogs. It means that when someone tries to say something offensive to you because they think differently, you can understand in your mind that they have an opinion and are entitled to it, but you can also respectfully tell them "You are welcome to your opinion on the matter, but we can agree to disagree and drop the subject" if things start getting heated.

As I told one of my children recently, having healthy boundaries means knowing you are important while understanding that others are important too.

Emotional boundaries mean that you can have angry or hurt feelings, but you don't have to take those feelings out on others. Those feelings are your body's reaction to something uncomfortable happening, and you need to find a healthy way to understand and cope with those feelings without hurting others in the process. It's the ability to keep the feelings or words of others from impacting you because while someone can say something, only you can determine and control your reaction. It's understanding that your actions and reactions to others are your own to control, and if you respond in a negative way to others, you hold the blame for that.

Having boundaries means taking back emotional control over your life and not taking offense to things other people say. There are some who get so worked up and upset by words of other people--taking offense to things that are not even meant as an insult--and waste so much of their life with negative feelings. So many feel that other people's words and actions are directed solely at them, putting themselves (wrongly) at the center of everyone else's universe. They get so wrapped up in everyone else's stuff, lashing out needlessly and pushing those around them away as a result.

There are many causes for broken-down relationships (all relationships), but at the root of it all, boundaries were broken. If a friend is pushy and tries to tell another what to do and it breaks down communication, a boundary has been broken. If a person cheats on their spouse, a boundary has been broken. If a family member berates and consistently criticizes another because of the decisions they are making, a boundary has been broken. Once people better understand boundaries, they can then create a better version of themselves, resulting in better relationships around them.

If you find yourself getting offended easily, angered quickly, or at a point where you can't seem to get along well with others, I encourage you to do some research and study on boundaries. There are many books out there. Some have to do with boundaries in general, and then there are boundaries with kids, as well as boundaries in marriage (yes, you can and SHOULD have boundaries in a marriage!).

If you have any questions on other books and research on this type of thing, please feel free to respond to my post. I'm here for you.

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