We all have boundaries. We have moral boundaries, belief boundaries, and physical boundaries. Sometimes it feels like life is one big boundary, a line most of us stay the right side of whilst watching others play hopscotch with ill-disguised disgust (or envy). Whatever we choose to do with the boundaries that exist around us though, they largely determine our way of life, codes of conduct, and our tolerance of other human beings.
Boundaries are great. They play such a huge part in determining our rationale; the way we think and how we act on those thoughts. Clearly then, they must also play a big part in shaping our place in the wider world or in society, as well as in more intimate relationships. I mean if you really think about it, isn’t a lot of how we define ourselves or describe our characters expressed by what we would or wouldn’t do, what we would or wouldn’t tolerate, what we would or wouldn’t risk? They are so much a part of who we are and how we see ourselves, woven into our identities. In a manner of speaking boundaries BECOME who we are, those lines we choose not to cross.
Still, I wonder at the finality of the word ‘boundary’ because I’m sure we can agree that it has a tendency to be quite a fluid thing! But what happens when we aren’t fluid enough ourselves? See, it’s not that big a jump for boundaries to go from keeping us grounded (like some kind of ideological security blanket), to go to keeping us mentally caged in a prison of our own making. They are double-edged swords that can give us purpose and direction, or make our worlds so small and inflexible that they destroy our amazing potential.
Have you ever been to watch a play where all the actors on the stage are dutifully going through their lines, and then suddenly one actor goes rogue, jumps off the stage and starts speaking to an audience member as if they’re in on the act? Wasn’t all you talked about afterwards how that actor went rogue, escaped the accepted boundary of the stage, and shocked us all with the intensity of his lines and acting?
Makes me wonder, how many of life’s stages are just waiting to be stepped off of? How much of our lives would be that much more exciting, passionate, memorable, if every once in a while we just escaped the comfort of social acceptability for a minute? Now wait a second, I’m not advocating going totally AWOL on everything you ever believed, or running out on your husband/wife & kids because they’re the ‘boundary’ holding you back — nice try though. There’s stepping out of constricting boundaries and there’s stepping off the edge of a cliff. That actor in the play knew what he was doing, where he was going, and what he wanted to achieve when he stepped off that stage. He also got back on the stage before the play was done, just saying. What he really did was move the boundary, not lose it completely.
Hey, not all boundaries are created equal and that’s a fact. The ones that help you to have a healthy relationship with yourself and others, and that lead to confidence, emotional stability, honesty, self-esteem, loyalty, faith — yeah you wanna keep those. The boundaries that introduce limitations on your capabilities or that harm your interaction with others — self-doubt, prejudice, fear, blame… step OUT!