So, I am working my way through a book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend entitled “Boundaries – When to say yes, when to say no to take control of your life”. How sobering for me this has been. It’s been interesting to see the areas where I’ve instituted healthy boundaries without even knowing. On the other hand, to see those areas where the effects of improper boundaries are manifest is another story. So glad to be working through some of this stuff.
For example: Saying “no” when I should be saying “yes”, and saying “yes” when I should be saying “no”. I have sometimes found myself repeatedly giving my daughter a “no” at her requests to have or do something when there was no real reason why she should have been denied. On the other hand, I would say yes to requests of others knowing it was not a wise decision.
Two things in operation here:
1. Some of my yes’s have been motivated by guilt. Saying “no” to other people would make me feel bad, especially since I feel others have been so kind to me. The least I can do is pay it back. Right? No, not right at all. This giving is not motivated by love. So, my “yes” was an attempt to feel good again.
2. Some of my no’s were a result of envy. My tendency has been towards introspection. From a young age I learned that my needs were just not that important (although this is not truth). I didn’t do much asking then, and am realizing that I still have a hard time asking for what I need today. How does this play into me telling my daughter “no”. Well, I’ve realized that her requests are her attempts to get her needs/wants met. One day I really had to ask myself why I was telling her “no” so much. I could find no logical reason, but could clearly see she would get upset and I would feel triggered by the constant asking. My daughter is learning to ask for what she wants/needs because she has a history of them being met…..something I didn’t learn to do. In essence, my heart would resent those requests because my daughter was doing something I would not. Ask. Woa, kinda hurts to type that. So, I am learning to come out of passivity and create boundaries by asking, seeking, and knocking (Matthew 7:7-8). And of course, I can meet my daughter’s requests with a yes and a smile, especially if there is no potential harm to her or others.
Man, God teaches us so much through our children.
I figure it’s only fitting to bless my family with healthy boundaries.
Husband, daughter and son: (taken from book)
I bless you in the development of: Physical boundaries that help you determine who may touch you and under what circumstances, Mental boundaries that give you freedom to have your own thoughts and opinions, Emotional boundaries that help you deal with your own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others, and Spiritual boundaries that help you distinguish God’s will from your own and give you renewed awe for your Creator.