What My Daughter Taught Me About Boundaries
A few years ago I was lecturing my middle daughter, Emily, about something that really didn’t matter in the big scheme of things. All of the sudden, she put up her hand, palm in my face, and told me in her most assertive (and slightly sassy) voice,
“Dad, you do you, and I’ll do me.”
Emily’s message was neither an act of defiance nor a plea to leave her the heck alone. It was a profound statement of boundaries. It was a statement of identity and self-determination. She’s a great kid. She follows the rules and respects her parents. And, she knows who she is. I’m proud of her for resisting these three boundary-violations and teaching me about where I should be spending my energy instead.
Stop compromising to keep the peace. It’s OK to share your feelings and ask for what you want. It doesn’t mean you will automatically get it, but at least you honored your heart and soul. Let go of your need to be a martyr.
Giving Unsolicited Advice
Stop being a non-consensual helper. Enough with violating other people’s desire to feel capable. If you really care and you really have an idea that would help, at least ask permission first. Let go of your need to be the savior.
Stop making threats and pulling rank to get what you want. It’s OK to have your own boundaries and do your part to live out what matters to you. You’ll get a lot more done by bringing people alongside you than by threatening them. Let go of your need to be powerful.
Do you see yourself in any of these? What could you gain by giving up these boundary violations?