Just this past week I've had at least four different conversations, with four different people, about four different things, happening in four different sets of circumstances. But they all had one thing in common. In one way or another, every conversation was about boundaries.
Most people call me Molly. But some people call me Mol. Use of my nickname implies connection, trust, respect, intimacy, and love - sometimes even love at first sight. Anyone can call me Molly but not everyone can call me Mol. Sometime someone I've only just met calls me that, and It is soooo OK. Other times someone that I've known for a long time calls me that and it is sooooo not OK. I know it. I can feel it. One is OK. The other is not. What stands between the two is a boundary.
Brene' Brown, in an On Being interview with Krista Tippet says "...'boundaries' is like a big gauzy word, but it's a really simple thing. What's OK and what's not OK."
- Is that behavior OK or not OK?
- Is that language OK or not OK?
- Is that request OK or not OK?
- Is that touch OK or not OK?
- Is sharing that information OK or not OK?
- Is that physical proximity OK or not OK?
- Is that topic OK or not OK?
- Is that expectation OK or not OK?
- Is that question OK or not OK?
- Is that sense of familiarity OK or not OK?
- Is dropping the last two letters of my first name Ok or not Ok?
When faced with a situation where boundaries are concerned, ask yourself. Is that OK or not OK? You'll know the answer. You'll feel the answer.
The boundaries we set establish more than what is acceptable and what is not. They signify who we are, and what we stand for.
A clear boundary says:
I may be OK.
You may be OK.
But that is not OK.