Health. That is the goal. To be healthy and whole in our minds and emotions. We work so hard to have our physical bodies look good while our souls and minds are deteriorating from lack a lifetime of pain and trauma that has never been dealt with.
What you don’t deal with will effect you. Think about it through this illustration. Someone places a bomb in the middle of your living room. It is siting there counting down the time until it explodes. You know it is there. Many others know it is there. Yet you do nothing about it. It just sits there day in and day out waiting to explode. In your heart you know that you have to do something about it. In your head you have convinced yourself that it really won’t hurt you. All the while the bomb is still sitting there waiting to go off. Then one day the countdown ends and the bomb explodes. Effectively hurting you and everyone within it’s radius.
There is a bomb in your soul. It is sitting there waiting to go off. You are given the choice to deal with it or not. You know it is there. You have lived a painful life and realized that it created this bomb. You have tried to convince yourself that it won’t hurt you or anyone. All the while it is ticking down to the next incident before it explodes and many people get hurt. With this thought it is time to do something about it. It is time to get healthy.
One of the greatest ways to get healthy it to erect boundaries in our lives. Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for themselves what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards him or her and how they will respond when someone steps past those limits (Psychological today definition).
The healthiest people in the world are those who have boundaries. Boundaries are not limitations, but things that show the limits of what a healthy person is willing to engage in. This doesn’t mean you put people into prison! No! This means you are giving them freedom. They know where the line is, and how to operate within your boundaries.
Do you know the most important thing about a boundary? Is that you are putting limits on yourself and others so you can have the opportunity to heal. Think of it this way. I own a home. Around my home is a property line. That is a physical boundary that I can enforce. If I do not want people on my property then they are not allowed on my property. On my property I can do whatever I want (within legal rights).
You are saying the same things to others. This is my line that people cannot cross. This is not to punish people, but a declaration that says I am wanting to get healthy in this area. You may ask about their feelings. Honestly, some people will applaud you, but most will challenge you. It is not about what the feel. It is about what you are willing to do in order to become the healthiest you that you can be.
- You need boundaries to get healthy
This isn’t an option. If you do no have clearly defined boundaries then people will continue to walk all over you. If people continue to walk all over you then you will never have the space that you desire to finally find healing.
2. Don’t allow anyone else unhealthiness impede your desire to be healthy.
The world is full of emotionally unhealthy people. Never allow them to rule your life and limit your potential. People will try to violate your boundaries, make you feel bad about your boundaries, and drawing the attention to the importance of themselves over your health.
3. Defining boundaries will be a challenge.
Sometimes we really don’t know what we need. One of the greatest challenges will be to evaluate yourself in an honest and objective way. think of it this way. You are not as good as you think you are. Also, you are not as bad as you think you are. Most people fall in the middle of the two extremes. However, there are a very rare few who are extreme in their feelings. Those particular people may need extra help obtain through a professional. I encourage everyone to see a professional at some point in your life.
4. You are not alone in this.
We feel lost. We feel alone. We feel like we are not good enough. All of those emotions are false. There are people around you who are willing to help and be there for you. There are people who are further a long on the journey of health and can give you their wisdom. All you have to do is have the courage to ask.
5. It will be awkward and hard enforcing your boundaries.
People do not like to be told what to do. Face it. However, do not let that detract you from your mission. Your mission is personal health. In the journey to health you will make people mad. You will make people feel awkward. You will make them want to stop being friends with you. That is ok. If they really cared about you, as they say they do, then their heart will be that you become healthy. Friends who are willing to enter the journey with you will be friends for life. They will always be friends who will try to be healthy themselves. Remember, an unhealthy friend plus a healthy friend still equals an unhealthy relationship.
6. Have the courage to stay the course.
Enforcing boundaries will be hard. There will be days that you will want to give up. There will be days that you will be stronger then others. You must stay the course. You are creating a lifestyle change. It will take time, but in the end it will become part of who you are. Don’t be afraid. You may lose some friends. That is ok. In the end you will find joy and peace.
I have had to work hard over the years to define my boundaries. In fact, I am still working on defining them and redefining them. Let me give you an example of two of the type of boundaries that you may want to have in your life.
Example 1: Throwing in the pillow
My wife and I have a boundary that we created a long time ago in our marriage. Yes you will need boundaries in our marriage. Remember a boundary isn’t bad thing. They are lines in the sand that declare you are ready to be healthy.
When my wife and I were first married we use to argue a lot. We decided that when things got heated that we needed something to allow us to walk away without offending the other person. So we decided to use a pillow. When you throw the pillow into the middle of a heated discussion it signifies that the person who threw the pillow needs to walk away. The response of the other person is to let them walk away. It doesn’t means we won’t ignore the issue. It means we simply need time to regroup, gain peace, and approach it when we are not so combative.
Example 2: Lack of Reply
Over the years I have developed a boundary that helped me in a major way become healthy. I don’t engage people in unhealthy chatter, negativity, passive aggressive shots, or the persons incessant need to tear everyone else down. I also tend not to give my full attention to who think they are right and have a hard time seeing any point but their own.
When I engage a person through texts, emails, or calls I am always cognizant of the conversational direction. If a person is making unhealthy statements, is overly negative, or passive aggressive I will either end the conversation abruptly or completely ignore the statement. If a person asks why I will tell them. I tell them the truth in love.
You may think that is hash, but I promise you when people know that you do that it can do a couple things. First, the person contacting you may stop engaging in those behaviors around you. Second, the person may stop contacting you all together. It is ok if a person is unhealthy and doesn’t want to be in your life. That means that you are weeding our people who will either sabotage your healthy or hold you back from being healthy. Finally, it could inspire them to be healthy. Option 3 doesn’t happen often, but it is wonderful when it does.
The types of boundaries are endless. You will have to go through your heart and determine what makes you unhealthy. Then strategize what you will need in order to stop the behavior. Let your driving question be, “What can I do with this person that will all me to be healthy?”
One of the hardest parts of this journey is recognizing that you and I are unhealthy. We have to admit that about ourselves. We also have to recognize how others make us unhealthy as well. Recently, God has shown me in my own life how certain individuals draw out the unhealthy parts of my soul. It was very hard for me to admit. Now I am in prayer to determine what to do about it. Could it hurt the other peopler? Yes. However, my health is my primary goal. I do not like or want to hurt peoples feelings, but I am desperate to be healthy.
No one will take charge of your personal health but you. Today, get before God and ask Him to give you the courage and direction you need to become healthy.
In my next post I am going to give you a few practical thoughts about boundaries. I will also recommend some good resources that may be able to help you start your journey.
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