Please allow me to preface this by saying…I am boundary pusher! I don’t know how to not push boundaries. I can contribute ignoring boundaries to things I consider successes in my life. My caregivers and friends can attest to me being a boundary pusher my entire life. My “No” and “Yes” receptors must be confused. Graduate school created a new set of boundaries for me to push. It allowed me to guiltlessly see how far I could push boundaries and be rewarded in the process! I fed my addiction to pushing boundaries. When I push a boundary something possibly happens with my dopamine neurotransmitter. Ok, I may be stretching it some! Until I decided to become a helper and enter various professional and therapeutic relationships. I noticed something different.
True Story! I went to get a much-needed massage and the masseur ask the usual question, “Is there any area you would like me to pay special attention to today?” I looked at him and said, “My whole body hurts!” Why had I allowed myself to get to this point? Ignoring boundaries had gotten the best of me!
Boundaries are important in any relationship. How are your boundaries with your current employer? What are you willing to do or not do for that promotion or new position? When exactly do you draw the line in your relationships? We have the tendency to stretch ourselves very thin, leaving only minimal time and energy for anything or anyone outside of helping people. We know how to help, but we seem to have a hard time being helped. We tend to allow the needs of others detwrmine our choices and decisions. We sometimes allow helping others dictate how and if we care for ourselves. I was recently asked, how do I know when I need a break. I almost immediately responded by saying when my tolerance for people is low or nonexistent. I know it is time for me to take some time to myself, for myself, and for the sake of people who interact with me during this time. I can become unpleasant and extremely short with people. This is not the person that I want to be and I don’t like me when I am in this state. I felt I was doing great by being able to identify these things about myself. So I was then ask, the simplest, yet, puzzling question, why do I allow myself to be in this state if I know I don’t like it. Why not do something or take a break beforehand. I looked at MY therapist as if she was a genius and thought to myself, I’ve got to do better!! I can no longer push the same boundaries that I am accustomed to pushing. It interferes with who I am as a clinician and a person. It interferes with my relationships, and my purpose, and I can’t have that! I can no longer operate in the same manner. Things have to be different. I’m playing with a new set of boundaries. Not only does my life and health depend on the boundaries that I establish, but so does the care of others. I have to establish boundaries in areas of my life to create balance, and become more aware of when enough is enough before it’s too much. Note to self: Replenish yourself daily. How can we pour into people when we are empty?
To the helpers and caregivers who have a sense of healthy boundaries and are able to operate within your boundaries more often than not. You’re AWESOME and don’t let anyone tell you anything different!