If in this holiday season you are spending time with loved ones and find yourself feeling sad and disappointed, you are not alone. Many of us go into the holiday season with false expectations. We are bombarded with a plethora of media that tell us “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Why then don’t our lives match up with the messages we see everywhere?
For most of us, the Christmas season is not the most wonderful time of the year. We are faced with challenges that come along with family, time and money, reinforcing the need for certain boundaries. But what happens when you are forced to set boundaries with those you love, such as your friends and family members, because their words, actions or expectations have become toxic to your own life? It hurts. But boundaries have to be established in order to lead a mentally and physically healthy life. Setting specific boundaries in your life will eventually lead to inner peace, but the process will be painful.
So if you decide to draw that boundary line, here are 10 things to know before you do:
- You will be misunderstood. They will not understand why you have set a boundary and they will be angry. Expect it, but understand you do not have to subject yourself to abusive treatment.
- Separation hurts. Be prepared to feel alone. It will hurt, but in time you will heal and they will still be there if they love and respect you. They will accept that you are the one in control of your life, not them. They will agree to live by the rules you have set for your life. If they are not there, it clarifies why you needed to set the boundary in the first place.
- It’s difficult to draw a boundary line. Standing up for yourself may be one of the hardest things you have ever done, but you can do it. The first step is always the most difficult.
- You will be ridiculed. Most likely, you will be misunderstood, judged and even ridiculed by others, even your “friends.” No man knows what is in the heart of another, yet you will be judged and it will hurt. Expect that too.
- It is confrontational. Most of us dislike confrontation. When you make the decision to stand up for yourself and refuse to be treated improperly, the other party may become confrontational. If you are in physical danger, seek help immediately and leave the area. If verbally confrontational, remind yourself that you do not have to be subjected to improper or abusive treatment. Remove yourself and those in your care from the situation.
- It will be lonely. Setting boundaries is lonely. That is why many do not do it. But the people that end up in your life will be there because they want to be. They will be there because they love you and they respect the way you choose to live your life. They will respect your boundaries.
- It will take time. There is always hope after setting a boundary that the other party will see they need to make a change. You are the one setting a boundary for your life, and it is their choice whether or not they choose to adhere to that guideline. If they do, the relationship can heal and renew itself over time.
- Your normal way of life will be challenged. You will no longer have the same life or routines that you used to. You will need to assimilate to a new way of life, but know that your journey will be one of peace.
- Others may be affected by your decision to draw a boundary line. When you set a boundary; other people are involved such as children. Force yourself to look at the long-term results of a decision, while walking the painful road of the short-term. Be courageous enough to choose the ultimate good, and be willing to accept the imperfections and difficulty of the short-term. Life is not perfect, but you have a responsibility to protect those in your care.
- The boundary line may be forever. The ultimate desire when we set a boundary is for mutual respect to occur and for a relationship to thrive with the understanding of these guidelines. Sometimes the other party refuses to accept or even hear what you desire for your life. When this happens, they are choosing not to accept what you have determined is good and right for your life. That will hurt, but you are never alone. Surround yourself with those that love and care about you, and who will support you when you choose a healthy, happy life for you and your family.