BALANCE Comes with Boundaries

Two and a half months and ten blog posts later and here I am. Over the past eleven weeks, I’ve taken my first blog post that served as my documented New Year’s resolution and transformed it into my launchpad to a more BALANCED life. Each week I’ve spent time reflecting on the eight variables of my self-defined BALANCE equation and dedicated a blog post to each one: #Self, #Food&Fitness, #Sleep&Beauty, #Spirituality, #Relationships, #Career, #Passions&PastTimes and #Adventure.

Each variable is backed up with my own words and will serve as my compass going forward. Although each variable has been defined based on what it means to me, it’s important to note that these are “living” definitions that have free reign to evolve alongside of me. They simply represent my starting point and serve as a baseline to show me how far I go and at times, they might even turn into my home base when I get lost or lose sight of where I’m going.

Believe it or not, the month of March will be over before we know it. And a friend recently reminded me of what that means…we are 25% of the way through the year. Another way to say this is…Are you 25% of the way towards meeting your New Year’s resolution(s)? I had never thought of March that way, but I liked it. It’s good to check in and ask yourself how it’s going every once in awhile. I tried to answer the question myself but have found it hard to quantify my particular New Year’s resolution, so I went for qualitative and this is what I came up with:

  • I’ve spent quality time reflecting and writing about my BALANCE equation.
  • I averaged 1 post per week and completed a blog post for each variable in my equation. [*BONUS for being quantitative!*]
  • I have received positive feedback and encouragement from those who have read a post or decided to follow my blog.
  • I did what I said I was going to do.
  • I’m still going….

So as I transition away from my initial posts and focus on the remaining 75% of the year, I thought it was a good time for me to revisit boundaries and how they will help me because you can’t have BALANCE without boundaries. The importance and role of boundaries became clear to me after reading the book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No to Take Control of Your Life. The book sparked my interest after being referenced by my church’s pastor one Sunday during his sermon.

In a nutshell, the book is about how to develop and maintain healthy boundaries in your life. Although targeted at Christians, this book is for anybody. It discusses boundaries in a unique way that combats the misconceptions of what it means to be a good Christian. Christians have been led to believe that in order to be able to call themselves a good Christian, they must constantly serve others which many times can be distorted into having loose boundaries. Examples of this are always saying yes or constantly prioritizing others’ needs over your own. This chronic focus on being loving and unselfish many times leads to bearing the load of another individual’s responsibilities and disregarding our own limits and limitations.

The first part of the book defines what boundaries are, how they are developed and how they work. The second part looks at boundary conflicts in each area of our lives including boundaries with family, friends, spouses (or significant others), children, work, yourself and God. The last part discusses how you can begin to develop healthy boundaries going forward.

The book is built around the principle that boundaries define who we are. Not only do they define what is me but what is not me. Just like a physical boundary like a fence, a spiritual boundary shows us where we end and where someone else begins and that is the foundation of feeling ownership over our lives. Simply put, when you know what is yours, you know what you are responsible for. A point continuously stressed throughout the book is that we are responsible for ourselves and only responsible to others. Everyone has responsibilities in their life that only they can carry and boundaries help determine where our responsibility ends and someone else’s begins.

Now I’m not here to give a book report, but there really are a lot of great takeaways from this book, so if I’ve intrigued you, I say give it a read yourself. As a disclaimer, it is not the most exciting text you’ll ever read, but it is eye opening to the boundary problems you might be experiencing and even shine light on where they stem from. For me, the principles of this book have made me aware of what boundaries are and why the ability to set clear boundaries is essential to achieving a healthy and BALANCED lifestyle. If I’m not able to say no, put myself first or draw the line when necessary, there is no way I can ever expect to BALANCE everything that is important to me. Boundaries are a form of love…both to ourselves and others…I’m no Boundaries Black Belt, but consider me one in training.

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