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Bent to broken: A tale of the importance of healthy boundaries

Life is messy. From family and friends, to career, to physical and mental health, it’s a lot to juggle. This is why boundaries are important.

Man with many notes all over suggesting stress and boundaries

Because of recent upheavals in life, I’ve had the opportunity to sit in the front row of Zoom meetings for family members of those suffering from a variety of ills, namely, mental depression, drug, and alcohol addiction.

Sounds very personal, but in keeping the conversation real, one has to come to terms that sometimes life is messy, and no one escapes messy.

The core help aid I have repeatedly enjoyed from these periodic check-ins is that boundary setting is highly underrated. Perhaps business owners are somewhat prone to being overachieving, stress junkies who lean toward sacrificing one’s whole self, to aid and abet just about anyone else in their quest for time off, work/life balance, weekend excursions, time alone, and mental health days, and in so doing, they alienate their own.

In an effort to keep the retention of key employees and keep staff morale at peak performance or keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus, we often forget that we are the owners, and keepers of the dream, the very lifeblood of the place of business we sacrificed our life work for.

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Growing up a rebel in the ’70s, I never thought that boundaries were something I’d want, much less tout, but my peace-loving older DNA very much needs not only boundaries set for others not to cross into my space, but I appreciate knowing the bumper guards of those around me as well. It’s that avoidance of making an ‘ass out of u and me’ that holds me accountable, too. The key to me was that the setting of parameters was actually beneficial to the one being limited, not just the one placing the limitations.

Boundaries are the bowling alley bumpers for daily life. It’s very easy to get lost in the mentality that life happens TO YOU, and thus means that you alone have to carry ALL fallout, versus being able to deflect or scatter some of the chaos in different directions and not squarely on your own plate. That’s just called martyrdom. It’s also unhealthy.

As I began to learn what healthy boundaries were and that they were in fact, helpful for the individual needing the margins, or borders, I was more at ease in putting them in place. I also found that the respect quotient was raised and that’s when the light bulb turned on. We do need rails. We do need definition. So, too, do the ones who work for us.

Right after researching this topic, I came upon this quote that also gave me pause to reflect in that we are not meant to carry the burdens of everyone. Sure made the lifting lighter.

From Max Lucado’s daily email I receive:

“I recall an afternoon early in my ministry when the invitation of Jesus to the weary became the invitation of Jesus to Max. I was supposed to be studying, but I could not concentrate. I thought that I had to fix everyone’s problems, shoulder everyone’s burdens, and never grow weary in doing so. After some moments I bowed my head and sighed and this scripture came to mind: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NASB).”

I do love me some rest.

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