“I wrote and told you not to come home. Can’t you read between the lines? I have another woman and I don’t want you.”
These are the words spoken to me by my first husband after he picked me up at the train station. We had just gotten in the car, and by ‘we’ I mean me with my six-month pregnant belly and our 2 year-old daughter.
I had gone to visit my mother who had broken her back falling off the kitchen counter (hanging curtains!) and wanted to offer any help that I could. Yes, he had written me a letter saying I should stay there indefinitely to help Mum and he would send my things. That set my alarms ringing!
This was the second time in my very young life I had received news that jolted my world off its axis and I knew there was nothing I could do that would ever right it. The first time will have to be an article on its own.
The following months were a special kind of Hell, but I did end up telling him to leave us. And this was the very first time I recall ever setting a personal boundary. With that came self-respect.
I gave birth to my second daughter alone, moved away, tried to become a working, single Mum but had to settle for being a single Mum on welfare. The time was just before women decided they had had enough of inequality and “Women’s Lib” marched into our lives on a road of burned bras.
Aretha was singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Very timely.
I hung on to my self-respect during a time when other women marched to demand theirs from our society.
Here’s the big news about respect: no one respects anyone who does not respect herself or himself. And what is the one sure way of showing the world that you respect yourself? You have well defined personal boundaries.
We hear this word and think, “That’s all well and good, but I don’t really know what is meant by having personal boundaries or how to define them.”
Let me see if I can help.
A person who has boundaries can be loving, but not a pushover. They don’t have so many boundaries that they shut themselves off from life, but they also have enough boundaries so they don’t lose themselves.
They are not people pleasers because PP’s build up huge resentments that they end up projecting onto others, usually loved ones. No boundaries means no self-love.
Boundaries are not walls to keep people away and/or you locked in. They are tools for communication. Your boundaries are shared with others kindly, with respect and love and also with clarity and firmness. If they are shared in this way, the reaction of the receiver is wholly theirs to own. You are not responsible for their behavior, but it will tell you if they are a person you want in your life or your business. This is self-respect.
Many of you reading this may be entrepreneurs operating businesses from home. In which case, home and business boundaries will overlap and will be especially necessary. They will depend on who is living with you and the ages of children, if any.
Boundaries can be something seemingly so small as asking for a knock on the office or bedroom door and waiting for a response before entering or respecting a notice on your office door for those times when you can’t be disturbed (ie: making business calls, interviews or recording videos), or the name you want people to use to address you.
They can also be major boundaries, which in your business can result in serious consequences if not respected i.e.: hard feelings, having to fire someone including a client, an attack on your reputation over the Internet, loss of income, or you having to take legal action.
Examples of overlapping home and business boundaries can be: smoking habits; scheduling, such as times you want family members home (for dinner or curfew) or expecting clients not to be perpetually late for calls or meetings; abusive language in your presence; abuse of any kind; the amount of time you will spend on the phone with someone; manners.
In business, it’s always best to have everything spelled out in written form before you hire additional help or embark on a joint business venture, or take on a new client. Make certain they know how you conduct business (negotiate if necessary), and what the consequences are if your guidelines are not respected.
Does this mean that if someone does not respect your boundaries that they are catapulted out of your life? Of course not, but you can call their attention to it each time they do this. After all, old habits die hard! However, there does come a time when there will be a consequence and that should be made clear.
Important! Boundaries go both ways. It is in giving that we receive. Respect the boundaries of others and that includes yourself. Start by respecting your own boundaries.
One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to teach them to develop their own boundaries, to ask for them to be respected and to respond in kind. Their journey in this world will be easier, more fun and much more successful. And we would be raising a generation that does not have an out of balance expectation of entitlement or is bent on blaming everything and everyone for circumstances of their own making. They will also be more successful when they enter the adult world where they will either deal with businesses or perhaps own and operate one.
If I had developed boundaries in my teens or earlier I could have avoided the mental, physical and emotional abuses of my first marriage. I would not have involved myself with such a man. Of course, the upside is that I have two precious daughters and I am most grateful for what they have brought into my life.
I’m happy to say that I did learn about boundaries and they are a big part of my successes in building three businesses as an entrepreneur. Oh yes, and in a second marriage that is in its 44th year.
What story do you wish to share about respect and boundaries and how you were able to establish them? Comment below!
About the Author, Lynn Moore
Lynn is an Intuitive Coach/Mentor who works with career women in the second half of life to help them find a deeper sense of self and soul purpose. To help them end the struggle to learn WHO they are, WHAT they want and HOW to go and get it.
She is an accomplished speaker, published author, lifetime entrepreneur and has coached clients worldwide since 2004. She is the creator of the Inspirational Goaling system that is revolutionizing the world of how to choose goals and accomplish them struggle free.Receive your free iBook, "Inspirational Goaling", that will inspire you into a life of fulfillment and meaning at: www.InspirationalGoaling.com