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What Are Your Boundaries?


I thought this was an awesome topic to discuss. Thanks to David from the mid-west for his suggestion. What are your boundaries, or do you even have any? Your boundaries may be different for various things, but do you set them, or do people set them for you? Meaning, do you allow others to manipulate your boundaries? There are exceptions to every rule. If you have set boundaries, trust me, circumstances will arise that cause you to bend them. The trick is to be bending them for the proper reason, which only you can determine.

Boundaries are various types of limits we establish to protect ourselves from being used, manipulated, or exploited by others. The real question is, are your boundaries the same every time for the same circumstances? How many times have you seen someone do something and say to yourself, 'I would never do that?' Then, one day, you find yourself doing the exact same thing, and at times, more than once. Therefore, do you really have a boundary or limit to what you will tolerate?

A good example might be a relationship. Isn't it funny that most of the things in life that are the most common are issues involving relationships? You see a friend taking crap from their partner, and you tell them you would never tolerate that. Isn't that setting a boundary? However, sometime later, you find you are tolerating the same crap they did from your partner, or possibly at work. You might ask a co-worker, 'why do you let the boss use you like that?' Later, you find you allow the same type of behavior. You allow yourself to be manipulated because it's now you that wants the promotion. Our boundaries change and vary for many reasons. Love and money are the top two reasons. However, does that make it right, or are we being true to ourselves? Where do you draw your line in the sand?


Generally, most people set boundaries. It is not a list they write down and save in a word document for reference. It is more of a mental exercise. Meaning, we decide to implement them when needed. Most people do not know their limits because not every circumstance has been tested or pushed to that degree. We only have an idea of how we would react. As the saying goes, deal with it when faced with it. We all do this. However, the person who knows themselves better than the next, already knows for the most part how they will react. How far off their moral compass they will veer from course. It is always easier to give advice to others versus following it yourself, because for us, their issues are not personal. Therefore, we do not feel the emotional component. We never know what circumstances are going to arise that might cause us to overlook our boundaries. As I mentioned earlier, this is prevalent in the workplace. You knock a co-worker for kissing the boss's ass. Of course, you would never do that. UNTIL ... you want that new job that was just posted, and the boss starts to use you to get more things done. What the boss is doing is a form of exploitation.

They are exploiting you for what they can get out of you under the auspices of knowing you want that job. Therefore, you do the extra work because you want the promotion. You have just compromised your boundaries by doing exactly what you have criticized others for doing. How many times has this happened to you. You do all this extra work, and someone else gets the promotion. Now you are mad, disappointed, disgruntled, and no longer a happy employee.

Your friend's partner is caught cheating on them. They forgive them. You call your friend foolish and say, 'I would have dumped them.' If that happened to you, you might find yourself just as forgiving as your friend. Love and money. The two things where people will compromise their beliefs, morals, and behaviors.

We know that our boundaries could change based on the circumstances. However, shouldn't care be taken before you allow that to happen? Yet, they do. Why is that? The answer is simple. As stated earlier, what your friend is going through is not personal to you. Certainly, you care, but when you hang up the phone, your life is unchanged. When it happens to you, it is now personal. Life as you know it has been changed. This is a perfectly normal reaction. As people, we are not consistent. We rarely follow our own advice. Something else that is normal. However, at some point, each of us draws a line. That line is the point where you will NOT tolerate something any longer, but often times, the harm is already been done, and you now question your inner security and self-worth. What you need to understand is this. This is different for everyone, and judging how another reacts to a given situation is not being fair to them and puts undo pressure on you. For some people, controlling another's actions that they do not agree with becomes an obsession.


Exploitation is the process in which we treat someone or many people unfairly to benefit from what they are doing. Usually, this is for financial gain. Some forms of exploitation are considered acceptable. The popularity of a sports figure is exploited when they are a spokesperson for a product. In that case, both the product gains by increased sales, but the sports figure is paid handsomely for their work. There are many types of exploitation. How about the Super Bowl ads at 5 million dollars for 30 seconds? What about the model who has a great figure that is being used to display a clothing product and is shown in a quite revealing manner? Do you remember the product, or the model? Although they are being paid, isn't that a form of exploitation? I think the question is a simple one. Where do we draw the line? How many $$$ does it take for anyone to modify their boundaries? The answer is equally simple. It's up to the individual. For me, I believe that if someone is going to modify their beliefs or boundaries for money, I must question how loyal they would be to me as a friend, co-worker, or partner. Is what I believe in important to them? How many times did you go out with your partner when one or the other was not comfortable with the way the other was dressed? How did that work for you? How was your evening? When you tried to address this with your partner, you were shot down. Where dd the mutual respect go? IS this issue even important? These are real life circumstances. Circumstances where we as people, may have to draw a line in the sand. No one can force an opinion on another, however, you could choose not to be a part of it.


We must ask ourselves, are having boundaries important to us. Not to get off on politics, but this is a good example. I find political debates to be one where the candidates have no boundaries. Meaning, the one phrase you hear so much in a debate. "XXX is my friend, BUT!" Okay, they just called that person a friend and followed it up with bashing their character. Doesn't that make you question the character of anyone who would do that? They are not debating issues, they are calling one another friends then bashing their character. Sorry, I do not need those types of friends. Therefore, we can only assume that winning or someone getting their way has far greater value than the boundaries one set's for themselves. Then we all wonder, WHY DON'T PEOPLE TRUST ONE ANOTHER? Thank you ... Caesar Rondina


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