Boundaries can be a beautiful thing.
As a child, boundaries are the fences parents use to keep you under control. As a result, many kids learn to dream of a world without boundaries. One where anything is possible, no dream is too small, and the world will find a way to mend itself to your desires and ideals.
The optimism that emerges has the power to be both a blessing and a curse. I have found myself on both sides of this equation. I am lucky to have control over my education and lifestyle choices, but I often find myself paralyzed by the possibilities.
In a world where we do not set limitations for ourselves, how do we make decisions? Choosing between three options is fairly simple, but allowing yourself to consider another 30 options is often a one-way ticket to nowhere. A life without boundaries would be a nightmare in terms of decision-making.
I have written a few times about the power of possibilities and how much I adore being able to create your own dream. Recently, I have realized that harnessing the full power of these dreams often requires you to narrow your focus.
If you’re questioning the need for boundaries in your life, I ask you to look at the boundaries that can be found in society. Are they important?
The first example of societal boundaries you think of might be governmental laws. Do these benefit our lives? For most people, I think the answer is a pretty clear yes. While you may occasionally be frustrated with certain laws in place, the security they provide is likely far better than the possibility of chaos in a world without any laws.
Boundaries do not have to be as serious as laws though. Boundaries occur in our recreational activities as well. All the games we play succeed because of the boundaries we have created. One game I have been enjoying recently is chess.
Chess is a fairly simple game. Within a few days, most people can have a complete understanding of the boundaries in place. They know exactly how the pieces are able to move, how to capture pieces, and what constitutes a win.
Yet, within this understanding, there are endless amounts of games that can be played. The boundaries do not restrict the game, they make sure each player has a task to complete and guidelines to follow along the way. I would argue that these boundaries actually enhance the possibilities available to the players. Through these boundaries, players can actually decipher a good move from a bad move.
Ideally, the boundaries within your life would work in the same way. Research and experts have often pointed to the effectiveness of setting boundaries in relationships. Letting your partner know what makes you uncomfortable or angry can often mitigate future problems.
Creating boundaries within your diet can often provide great assistance to your goal of living a healthier life. A designated bedtime may be the perfect adjustment to get the right amount of sleep each night.
Boundaries Should Be Freeing
It can be very easy to develop the view that boundaries are restrictive, but good boundaries should actually feel freeing in the bigger picture of your life. Of course, following those boundaries will not always be easy at the moment and there will likely be a few occasions that you break a boundary or two. That is how life goes.
Yet, if you manage to adhere to a properly set boundary for a longer period of time, you will feel a sense of accomplishment that can pay off the challenging times tenfold. Not to mention any physical and emotional benefits you may reap from the process.
At first, it may be difficult to establish a boundary in your life. You will likely feel like your missing out on something, even if you can’t quite put your finger on it. Give it a few weeks. You can always adjust along the way. Occasionally, ask yourself: Is what I’m receiving worth what I’m giving up?
You might just find that you feel a bit happier and healthier.