Speaking from personal experience, boundaries are litmus tests. I believe that most people like to test boundaries, to see how far they can push a person. Two things will happen: boundaries will be enforced or they won’t.
If the boundaries are enforced, most will say “Oh, man I’m sorry I didn’t mean it” or “ I was just playing.” They joke and project when they are embarrased.
If boundaries are not enforced, then they will continue to push you until you say something.
Are most people ignorant to the boundaries you set? Many are not, most will test them, but there are those who will respect them. Why are setting boundaries hard? People probably avoid confrontation because it’s uncomfortable. They hate being in awkward situations and it makes them cringe.
But what’s more uncomfortable is staying silent, when you know you should correct them, not just for their sake, but for yours as well. If we don’t respect the boundaries we put in place for ourselves and others, how can you expect them too.
Letting someone know they’ve crossed a line or boundary doesn’t have to be yelling or making a huge scene, it can be tactful and tasteful. It can be taking them to the side or even saying “I’d appreciate if you’d stop.” We’ve gotten away from speaking about our emotions and communicating them effectively.
Plus, when we’re grieving our emotions are all over the place. Your mind is running at 50000mph so you know your fuel economy (your mind) isn’t going far. Couple that with trying to cope, heal, engage, and make time for yourself and you become an instant CEO( someone who has no time being so busy).
It’s why setting boundaries are important from the get-go. Taking time to think over your situation is crucial. Knowing yourself well enough to understand where to draw that line is just as important. When we’re going through such a huge loss, it’s hard to hold our emotions in check. When people test those boundaries, inadvertently, they’re testing you as well.
Testing those boundaries may come in many forms. It could be in how they’re speaking to you. It could be them overstaying their welcome after you’ve let everyone know you’d like some alone time. It may even come later when someone tells you “Hey, you still shouldn’t be feeling this way. It’s been a year”
Most people mean well. I mean, what do you tell someone who has just lost an important part of not just their life, but a person who shaped them into the person they are today. It’s hard to try to quantify that. If you can’t, that’s okay. Most people can’t. But if you have lost someone, you know that sometimes words are not the most important thing.
It’s being there for them, respecting their boundaries, but also enforcing those boundaries if you see others pushing the envelope. When you understand that emotions zap your energy as much as physical work, you come to understand a little of what grief is like.
It’s feeling constantly tired and on edge. It’s wanting to isolate yourself but knowing you can’t for you own sake. It’s wanting your alone time but to also be around people. This is why these emotions are so hard to navigate because your body is fighting against your mind.
If you can remember that boundaries are a good thing, you’ll be able to heal faster than those who don’t. That will take a candid conversation with yourself. It’s coming to understand which will be best for you in the long run. It doesn’t mean you’re selfish. It means that you know how important the first couple weeks are after a death.
Next week I’ll get into how it’s done the wrong way (my original way) and how I set my own boundaries while growing as a person.