Defining our boundaries, AND THEN LIVING ACCORDINGLY, cultivates peace of mind.

In a response I received from an earlier post, a request was made for my thoughts on boundaries.  This topic has been rolling around in my mind ever since.  I’ve found myself questioning what it is that I really believe.  What does my own behavior reflect?

It’s a word that I use often, particularly when talking to sponsees or other friends.  You hear the word in 12 step meetings quite often.  Establishing good boundaries, i.e.., lines not to be crossed, when it comes to certain people, subjects or activities, makes for an honest interchange of ideas and more peaceful relationships.  Feelings are spared when each person understands the “rules of the game.”  And personal boundaries clearly are “personal rules.”

I think it’s easiest to think of boundaries within the context of codependency.  Perhaps a simple definition of codependency will serve as clarification.  Not everyone defines it the same.  The definition that fits for me is this: allowing the behavior of any one else define how I feel or think or act is codependency.  Unfortunately, I can’t claim complete freedom from codependency even now, even after years of writing about it, lecturing about it, practicing the tools of freedom from it.  Codependency is as insidious as any other addiction.  And I mean it when I call it an addiction.  We make a habit of it, a bad habit.  A very bad habit.  And it damages relationships.  Every day.

Understanding what is one’s business and what is not one’s business is clear evidence that boundaries are being honored.  A good friend of mine in Al-Anon says, and I quote: THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF BUSINESS.  MY BUSINESS AND NONE OF MY BUSINESS.  I laughed the first time I heard him say it.  And I’ve laughed every other time too.  It so clearly defines boundaries.  It so clearly points in the direction of codependency.  It makes the question one must ask before interfering obvious.  Staying on your own side of the street honors the boundaries of your loved ones.  The colleagues and strangers in your life too.

I am able to respect the boundaries of nearly everyone in my life.  However, when it comes to the “teacher” who is most dear to me, my husband, I fail on a regular basis.  At least once a day I have to fight off making an unnecessary, UNWANTED,  very codependent comment.  And far too often, I lose the battle.  My remorse is sincere and then the following day, I react once again where and when it is clearly none of my business.  I am so thankful that he and I both believe that our coming together was divinely intended.  Otherwise, we might not have weathered the storms of our relationship.

We are here, you and I, to learn lessons.  And these lessons will be offered us again and again, until we need them no more.   I do believe that I am always where I need to be.  And I do believe that my experiences are intentional.  I do believe, however, that the timeline of the mastery of my “lessons,” is for me to determine.  And I am a bit slow on the uptake.  I’m glad we are on the cusp of a new year.  I already know my first resolution.

PS: Happy holidays.  Offer an unexpected kindness to a stranger before this day ends.

 

8 Comments

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  2. Thanks for finally writing about > Defining our
    boundaries, AND THEN LIVING ACCORDINGLY, cultivates peace of mind.
    | Women’s Spirituality < Loved it!

  3. Thankyou so much for sharing about boundaries. I love your honesty. I still sometimes get ideas I can still be perfect, I know that’s laughable, but perfectionism is one of my biggest defects of character. The truth is I’m doing better than I was when I first came into the program, but codependency will always have a draw for me. My partner is also one of my biggest teachers as I have had to continually learn a new way to be..not ask as many questions, sit quietly, mind my own business, don’t advise etc. I still slip, but our life is a lot more peaceful than it once was.. For me, like you said it is an addiction, for me more so than any of my other addictions, because I was probably codependent very early in life. I was probably already codependent at the age of five. Boundaries are a tough thing for me because iit is almost impossible to have boundaries with alcoholics or other codependents. I set a boundary, they ignore it and then if I l allow it to affect me, I then lose my serenity. I attempt to guard my serenity like a wolverine.(ha ha).anyways this writing is very thought provoking and I’m sure it will be sparking all kinds of new ideas and contemplations in the weeks to come. Your writing often does that, it’s multi faceted and I can get different perceptions each time I read.

  4. Just a great big thank you for a lifetime of support. I found you 29 years ago when I first got sober and now at 69 I find you again in the form of a Course In Miracles. Thank You.

    • What a joy to hear from you, Irene. And I’m so glad to hear that you too have added “the course” to your spiritual journey. May we each continue to create miracles by our own changes in perception.

      Happy new year to you.

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