I love solving problems. I especially love the rush from helping someone else get to the bottom of something bothering them. Is it any wonder I shape my life to have the privilege and trust of great people, looking for answers?
Raphael sent in a question that says, “I go to bed late every night and would like to know how to develop greater strength to set boundaries and stick to them.”
Boundaries are fascinating. We put them around our homes, our states, territories and countries. We use them to define yours, mine, right, and wrong. The thing I notice about boundaries is that they are perceived differently depending on which side you are on.
Born in Missouri, I grew up with a natural inclination to cheer for teams from my State and against those in our neighboring Kansas, Illinois, and Nebraska. Why? Because a boundary can represent your loyalties.
The southern boundary of the United States, for example, represents something much stronger. On one side, the boundary is an obstacle to greater financial opportunity. On the other, it is a tool to implement order and protect resources. Your perception of the boundary depends on which side you reside.
Another characteristic of boundaries is that the importance and function of the boundary is directly related to its purpose. The deeper the purpose, the more important the boundary. It’s the same when we consider personal boundaries.
If we set arbitrary boundaries because we see other people doing it or are told it is what we should do, our chances of success are pretty slim. When considering a boundary there are a few questions we need to ask first.
- Why do I think that I need a boundary?
- Boundaries are meant to keep us out or in. Which is it for you? Are you trying to keep yourself away or do you want to stay close to something?
- What is so important about staying away from or staying close to your particular thing?
- If you’re going to create an obstacle that restricts your movement (which is exactly what a boundary does), what do you hope to accomplish? What is the end result you want?
As you dig and seek the answers, you’ll begin to uncover your purpose for the boundary. It’s in that purpose where you will find your strength. Not because you’ll suddenly be able to withstand the temptation, but because it will give you the needed perspective to have success. Let’s walk through an example in schizoprenic theater.
When you dig down to the core of why you want to do something, it isn’t hard to find the strength you need to make it happen. A boundary is only as relevant as you make it and is not a long-term solution. If it is effective, a boundary is only needed for a short time because the focus is on what you want to have, not what you want to prevent.
Rafael, understand the reason and use the boundary as a tool to get your started. Force yourself to bed at a certain time and force yourself awake at a certain time. Fill your first few hours of the day with the most important tasks you have. Focus on what time you want to be up and what you will gain by doing it.
Most importantly, make sure you are doing it for reason strong enough to carry you through. Before long, the joyful benefits of your change are enough to sustain your efforts and the boundary falls away, unneeded.
- Identify your purpose.
- Establish its power.
- Use that power to make the change.