I have been reading about boundaries last week, the week before someone asked me something and I did not want to disappoint and so I was having a hard time saying no.  Why was I scared of saying no? Because I did not want to hurt this person’s feelings.  Then someone else told me, that if I honestly can’t do it, then I should respond to them and tell them ‘I’m sorry, but I can’t” Then I should not worry about their feelings because they are responsible for their own feelings.  That just felt mean to me (not worrying about their feelings) But I did say no, and it was not easy but I am glad I did.

This is one of the quotes I read, it comes from a book by Richard A. Swenson, called: Margin and it does help me to start establishing boundaries.

“The need to establish boundaries that allow us to say no is a mathematical necessity.  With far too many demands and expectations upon us, we could not possibly fulfill them all, even should we desire to do so.  Yet it is not easy to say no.  With some, every time the word exits their mouths they have a crisis of guilt.  The alternative, however, is acquiescing to the demand.  Then, instead of a crisis of guilt, we have a crisis of margin depletion.

It is important to understand that most people simply are not sensitive. There is absence of malice but presence of callous.  Other people’s pain is invisible to them.  Therefore, when they make demands upon us, they know not what they do. 

We, then, must respond with grace, with sensitivity, yet with firmness: “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”  To be able to say no without guilt is to be freed from one of the biggest monsters in our overburdened lives.  If we decline, not out of self-serving laziness but for God-h0noring balance and health, then this level of control will not only protect our emotional margin but will actually increase it.”  

One thought on “Boundaries

  1. Jess says:

    I can relate to your struggle with setting boundaries … Our African culture makes this a struggle, as we have to be flexible to most of our family and community expectations. The initial incidences when we assert them are difficult on us but it becomes easier.


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