Before we move on to the next section of the necessity of understanding the difference between good and bad, I'll bring our session on understanding boundaries to a conclusion.
We need to understand that we are only responsible for our own feelings, attitudes and behaviors as Dr. Cloud says so often in our book "Changes That Heal," we are only responsible for our own backyard, we must not climb over the fence and rake our neighbor's yard, you are not responsible for his leaves; in other words, get your own leaves raked up, and stop taking responsibility for your neighbor's leaves.
Let me illustrate this principle. John and Mary had John's mother move in with them after the death of John's father. John's mother Kay would use guilt to try to get her own way when she wanted something. Kay would say things like, " are you leaving me alone again, you are always leaving me alone." This was a emotional manipulation by Kay to get John and Mary to do what she wanted them to do, namely, stay at home with her.
Persons that have learned how to set-up boundaries in their lives will not allow others to cross over into their backyard. You see setting up boundaries goes both ways--we do not go over into anothers' backyard neither do we allow others to come into our backyards.
Dr. Cloud notes, " Realizing our spiritual and emotional property line is the key to responsibility, freedom, and love."
Let me share a few methods for setting boundaries in your life.
Gain Awareness:Remember, setting boundaries is taking ownership of what is yours, so the first step to setting up boundaries is gaining awareness of who you are. Take inventory of you attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, abilities, choices, wants, and limits. If need be get out a notebook and begin to list list those things that make you you. Define who you are and then define who you are not.
Develop the "No" MuscleThink of when children hit those "terrible twos," the one word that you will hear more than any other word is the word no. This is the stage in a toddler's life when they are finding their own identities; this is the stage when a toddler begins to separate from mommy and begins to become a person apart from mommy. One of the most important and difficult tasks in creating boundaries for most people is that they can not say no, and by not saying not we allow others to climb over our fence and control and manipulate our who we are.
Stop Blaming OthersBlaming others is a dead end street. Blaming others will never move you to healing and free you from bondage. We need to take responsibility for our own pain and stop blaming others. By not blaming others does not mean that others have not caused the pain; it just means that the pain is yours and you must deal with it.
Go to God's Word for WisdomWhen we read the word of God we are listening to the mind of God. God is our creator and He has left for us the manual for how we ought to live. Now, I always add this disclaimer--the Bible is not a manual on how to be successful--no, the Bible is the revelation of Jesus Christ from the beginning to the end. But as we read God's word and do things the way that He has told us to do things we will reap the benefits of obedience. We will always reap what we sow.
Our next blog will deal with the ideal and the reality. We must understand the relationship between good and evil and God's plan for our lives as we live in a fallen world.