Are Boundaries the Same as Control?
The #1 question about boundaries is "are boundaries the same as control?" 

Do you hesitate to create or enforce boundaries because you're concerned about being viewed as controlling? That is a valid concern, but are setting boundaries really the same as having control? Understanding the difference is key to finding and maintaining balance and honoring your limitations.

First, let’s consider what having control means. Control is about getting others to do what that we want them to do. It stems from us wanting to receive an action or object that we desire from someone else. They have something we want, and we work to figure out a way to control the situation to get it.

Sometimes, though, the thing we want is for others to stop a certain behavior. They may be acting inappropriately or lacking emotional regulation. This behavior could be harmful to us, so this is where boundaries protect us. How?

Boundaries are always made with the goal of protecting and owning ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our time and money also require boundaries. Boundaries help us control only ourselves, honoring our limits. Because, let’s face it, we’re humans, not superheroes. And as previously mentioned, boundaries define what we will do in response to someone acting inappropriately. We take gentle action to protect ourselves. 

Honoring our boundaries is also one way we show modesty. Modesty is defined as knowing your limitations.

Time Boundary

For example, here’s a simple way to view our time and energy boundary. Time is one of six boundary types covered in my Gentle Boundaries mini course. Realistically, each of us have only so many minutes in a day, and a good portion of those minutes are set with nonnegotiable things like:
  • Sleep and basic self-care like washing, brushing our teeth, etc.
  • Eating—including food prep or purchase and other food-related tasks for a household
  • Work—including commute time if we don't work from home, or prep time if we do
  • Necessary tasks around the home, including all that goes into cleaning and maintaining a home inside and out
  • Time for basic family responsibilities, normal distractions, and getting to and from the other necessary tasks listed above
Taking all that into account, realistically, what do you have left to give to everything and everyone else? Those things listed don’t include personal study and growth, spiritual activities, time with family and friends, etc.

Years ago, a counselor had me draw a pie chart that broke down how I spent each hour of my typical day. When I colored in the pie slices, I sat back and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Not only did I have very little wiggle room, but it also pointed out a heavy imbalance towards work. I was working a ten-hour day, plus taking work home, and even dreaming about work sometimes!

Once you realistically calculate your available time, you'll know with all modesty what you have to offer to others. And remember your own necessary appointments and unplanned tasks, including that burst pipe or unscheduled trip to the dentist!

So I'd recommend that you sit down and do an exercise similar to what I did, measuring either a typical day or a typical week. This is your bare minimum, your must-dos, without accounting for any extra padding or unexpected appointments or tasks. Read more about that here: 3 Tips to Master Your Time

If you’d like to learn how I effectively manage tasks to help make the most of my time, check out my “Ditch the To-Do List” challenge. This challenge will help you to better respect the boundaries of your time and energy by learning how to incorporate tasks into your schedule.

Time is one of six basic boundaries. Do you know the other five? Do you think boundaries aren't possible for you? I teach women how to freely do gentle boundaries in a way that actually nurtures healthy relationships. 

What's Next?

Learn more about time boundaries in this blog post or check out the Gentle Boundaries mini course here

Bonus Video What's Next?

Learn more about time boundaries in this blog post or check out the Gentle Boundaries mini course here
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