Someone recently brought to my attention that I might rely too heavily on forming boundaries with other people. This post is to discuss that claim. It will also discuss the people in my life, the roles they play, and the boundaries I've set for them.
When I think of boundaries, especially with my personal relationships, I get this image of drawing a line in the sand. To me, it suggests having a this-is-my-space-that-is-yours mentality. I picture myself curling up in a ball within my own little circle, ready to unleash pure hell if someone dares to wonder into my space. It makes me seem timid and shy. This, however, is not the case.
Five years ago, I was quite undisciplined when it came to personal relationships. I used to have a diverse set of friends and coworkers whom I would follow no matter what. If they wanted me to go to a movie, build their website, lend them money, or work all night long, I would do it and with little hesitation. Why? Because I was not focused on my own happiness. I had no idea when to say "no", even when I knew the movie would be boring, the website complicated, the loan unpaid, or my productivity compromised.
Today, I still find it difficult to draw boundaries. I realized how necessary they are, especially with children, professional colleagues, and family members. However, I've been exploring another, more natural way of defining personal relationships.
Every person who is an active part of my life has a specific role in it, such as friend, client, or sibling. The roles conform to my freelancing lifestyle and I prioritize them according. For example, I have fun going out to a movie with my theater friends, but I would never get involved in one of their drama projects. That's too far outside of their role in my life. Even though I may have fun with them, I prevent myself from being pulled into their professional ambitions.
I would say that this gives me a good framework for living an independent lifestyle, one that I thoroughly enjoy.