“The most compassionate people I have interviewed over the past 13 years have also been the most boundaried.” –Dr. Brene’ Brown
Another Dr. Brene’ Brown memorable quote—that comes from research. Coming from research is important to me. I just don’t want to give you platitudes to encourage you and challenge you. I challenge you from how God leads using the word of God and research.
Dr. Brown goes on to define boundaries as “what is okay and what is not okay.” That is pretty simple. So when I encourage you over and over and over again to have boundaries for your life, I am simply asking you “what is okay and what is not okay.” When it comes to your dating life, “what is okay and what is not okay.”
It is worth every minute of prayer and time and conversation you have to figure this out for yourself. What are boundaries for you may not necessarily be the same boundaries for 33-year old woman or a 55-year old guy. I can’t give you a list of boundaries you should have because there are too many situations that we all personally live in. This is why you need to value every minute of prayer you devote to setting your own boundaries. This is why you need to make the time to set your own boundaries. This is why you need to have lots of conversations with trusted people (like your team!) to help you make these boundaries. Shared wisdom really makes you smarter.
Because then you will become more compassionate, which is really quite attractive. You may even become one of those types who are “hard to get.” “Hard to get” people are not always players. They are ones who have an identity. They know who they are and where the other person begins. They know how to set limits and say no. When you live like this, people (and dates!) are going to know exactly who they get with you. That is attractive.
When we don’t set boundaries, we blur into our relationships. We feel lost. We get lost. We have differing identities depending on the situation you are in. This is not attractive.
Do you know what else is not attractive? Dr. Brown goes on to share how when we don’t set boundaries, we let people get away with behaviors that are not okay. Then we become hateful and resentful. I have heard my share of “bitch sessions” of women who are angry at men. Or men who are angry at women. Or young adults whining about their parents. Or a wife complaining about her husband. Perhaps the real problem is that boundaries were not set. This is true more often than not.
A life without boundaries is not just a dating problem. This is a life principle—one that will help you find that love for a lifetime. And help you have healthy and vibrant relationships with others. Having boundaries will also improve your family relations. More on that in this article.
Boundaries are an expression of love to the world, your world. Back in the very beginning, God set boundaries for us in the Garden of Eden. All was well—perfectly well actually—until a boundary was broken. In Matthew 12:46-50 we read some tough love verses Jesus had for his family. Sometimes these verses are misunderstood because of that tough love aspect. But Jesus had boundaries even with his own family, especially when they tried to use their position to gain something from Him when He was doing a more important thing.
Creating and living by your boundaries is a basic life principle.
Dr. Brown went on further defining what BIG is for her. BIG is “what Boundaries need to be in place for me to stay in my Integrity to make the most Generous assumptions about you.” When have your own boundaries, you can take that chance on that one who asked you out. You can make the generous assumption that he/she could be a match. If he/she is not and if your boundaries were not violated (because you kept them!), this failed date cannot define you. It just is what it is.
I have repeated in many articless that a failed date cannot define you. This is exactly what I mean.
I love this thought that having boundaries allows you to make generous assumptions about everyone. What a way to live.
“Vulnerability without boundaries is vulnerability.” Without boundaries you are at a disadvantage. Dating is vulnerable enough. Find your boundaries.
One last quote, “Boundaries are not separation. Boundaries are not division. Boundaries are respect.” Respect! There is a whole lot of want in that word. You can have respect when you put the work in to make your boundaries—and keep them. And when a person respects your boundaries, get excited. They get you. This person is showing you that he/she belongs in your life.
Read this also: No One Wants to be Someone’s “Solution” for a Life That’s Not Working. Particularly this: “But here is the truth I want you to remember as you put in the hard work and the time. I see your worthiness and you are more worthy than the losers you’ve been attracting. I believe you are capable of attracting more than one right person. And I can’t wait to watch you be this whole person who is dating whole people and whom will find a good match with which will lead to a love for a lifetime. I see this for you. Because you are trusting yourself to be vulnerable to me (and whomever else in your small group), we are going to find joy in watching you. This will be your diary of a relationship.”
(Photo credit: http://commoncore.hku.hk/cchu9054/)