I have a love/hate relationship with boundaries. On the plus side, they protect my family and me and all that I care about. Years ago a friend said, “Your right to swing your arm stops where my nose starts.” I like that. Some limitations make sense. If you own the property, you have the right to say No Trespassing. Why should I not conform to your instructions? You are allowed to protect what belongs to you.
On the other hand, boundaries can be unnecessarily limiting. The name of this blog is Where the Pavement Ends, meaning that the world does not stop where the street stops. Beyond the barriers that would restrict us, an endless creation jam-packed with fascinating life exists. I’m glad that explorers, scientists and philosophers pushed the limits, or life as we know it would not exist. Those who reduce their curiosity to what their parents told them was permissible when they were children are boring people.
Back and forth: Of course, a lack of boundaries can cause problems. Two types of people without boundaries are rapists and prostitutes. The rapist says that he can have any part of someone else he wants. He literally enters another human being, attempting to merge with and claim what is not his. No boundaries. The prostitute says that anybody can have her. Again, no boundaries. No limits.
Back and forth: Too many boundaries are a problem. These people live in fear, rigid, self-restricted, which is a terrible way to live. Too few? Too many? I like the word “appropriate.” Marion Aldridge
“When you feel yourself becoming angry, resentful, or exhausted, pay attention to where you haven’t set a healthy boundary.” Crystal Andrus
“Appropriate boundaries create integrity.” Rae Shagalov
“The more severe the dysfunction you experienced growing up, the more difficult boundaries are for you.” David W. Earle
“Boundaries aren’t all bad. That’s why there are walls around mental institutions.” Peggy Noonan, Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now.