I have been discussing boundaries a lot on Instagram lately, and have been flooded with responses from readers about how they have felt empowered to deepen their relationships as a result. I've heard things like:
“Because of your boundary modeling, I feel empowered in my own life to do the same.”
“I have learned so much from you about boundaries and being firm and how to realize that someone setting a boundary isn't a personal offense.”
The common thread being, when someone confronts you with boundaries, it is in an effort to maintain and/or deepen your relationship, not to push you away.
Many (most?) people are deeply afraid of confrontation. I am not. I fear insincerity and surface-level, fake relationships. I don’t want to “just be nice” to everyone. I want to be kind, respectful, generous, and real. And I want to be treated that way in return.
How can someone treat you in these ways if you don’t know their boundaries? And when they tell you and you don’t respect them, then what?
I promise you this: as an enneagram 8 and a generally bold and confident person – personality “type” aside – if I confront you with calm words, it’s not an attack.
It’s not to put you off or drive you away. It’s to protect myself and to have a conversation so that we may *continue* in a reciprocal and respectful relationship.
I get that many people don’t respond to “feedback” or criticism in this way. I do.
My outlook on this (and one I encourage you to consider) is that other people’s behavior isn’t mine. I can only own my behavior, no one else’s. That I respond differently than someone else does not make me wrong or them right.
I promise if my confrontation was intended to simply piss someone off, you’d know it. I’m well-equipped at obliterating someone with words. But, when I know that I’m carefully and thoughtfully choosing my words to firmly state my boundary, the way that lands on someone in the moment isn’t about me.
I don’t just delete and block if I want to give someone the benefit of the doubt and engage with them assuming the best. I only do that with trolls who come in on the attack.
Over the years, I know many of you have learned from how I share these experiences. And this is one of my parts of my work here on earth: to embolden and empower you to confidently live a life that is true to who you are.
How do boundaries show up in your relationships?