In this episode, we continue the series Relationship Foundations as we dive into the subject of Boundaries. Because relationship boundaries start in your mind, having a clear picture of where you end and another begins is crucial as you decide how you want to respond in your relationships. Sometimes we may need to declare a boundary and enforce a consequence for violations; however many times we simply need to honor our own boundaries. Boundaries are never about controlling or punishing another person but are about protecting and taking responsibility for yourself, all the while honoring another's free will to do as they choose. Join me this week as we continue our journey to healthier, happier relationships.
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You are listening to the Happiest Lives podcast with Jill Lillard, episode number 20. Welcome to the Happiest Lives podcast, where you'll learn to think better, feel better and become the woman God says you already are. Here's your host, jill Lillard. Hello everybody, and welcome to part three in the Relationship Foundation series. This week we are going to discuss the importance of good boundaries. Now, before we get started, let's do a quick recap of what we've covered so far in the series. I started this off by zooming to the very core of where relationships begin. As an individual, you have a relationship with yourself, which is your thoughts, feelings and actions all interacting. Your thoughts create feelings that fuel your actions. This is a relationship. Then there is the relationship with our Creator. When we willingly welcome Jesus with our minds, the Holy Spirit enters our hearts. Upon believing, his Spirit literally comes to live inside of us. Isn't that amazing? It really blows my mind that God of all creation would dwell inside me. It only requires my cooperation, inviting His will. In way, he interacts with my thoughts, emotions and will, making me more and more a reflection of Him. Those thoughts become our thoughts, and when our thoughts reflect Him, we show up as the best version of us. This is the process of transformation which is completely relational. Our relationship with others is the interaction of our thoughts about them and their thoughts about us. Therefore, by becoming more aware of what we are thinking and whether our thoughts are subject to the flesh or spirit, we can create relationships that are so much healthier, even if the other person never changes. You can be happier in your relationship. If you are experiencing conflict with someone, ask yourself what you think about them on their regular. What do you make their actions mean, and are those thoughts serving you or are they creating more pain? The next thing we talked about is the importance of recognizing ways you are believing other people are responsible for how you're feeling. We create relationship manuals for how we think others should behave in order for us to be happy. However, when we look to others to meet our deepest wants and desires, we'll always end up disappointed. This is why we should toss out our manuals. All of this said, it's good and so important to turn toward our partner, or we end up as two separate lives living under the same roof, as loneliness and isolation set in. We don't want to do life on our own. We're made for relationships. Our partner is our helpmate. So we want to make bids to connect. We want our thoughts to interact with the other person's thoughts. But how do we do this without imposing our manual? Well, instead of expecting our partner to meet our desires and wants, we recognize, only the Lord can fill our deepest longings. From this foundation, we turn toward our partners and make requests sharing our desires. We do this without demanding or expecting them to comply. We focus on discovering our want matches and nurturing those, instead of being disappointed when the person doesn't want the same thing. In this way, we set ourselves and the other person free. As you nurture your relationships, applying these two core concepts alone will make a huge difference in the results you are experiencing. So now let's talk about the third core concept, which is establishing healthy boundaries in your relationships. Here is how you can think about a boundary. If you're a homeowner, you have a property line. This is where your property begins and ends. This is your boundary. Someone can't just walk into your home without permission and you can't expect your neighbor to take care of your grass. That is your responsibility. In the same way, you have a boundary line as a person and everything inside that line is what you allow regarding other people. Have you considered your boundaries with other people in this way? What will you allow and not allow in your life? Boundaries start in our minds. When we recognize where we in and another person begins, we are establishing a boundary. The work of separating other people's words and actions from your thoughts about them will help you set a healthy boundary. Not owning or arguing with their thoughts and feelings, but seeing their thoughts, feelings and actions as what God has given them agency over, will help you focus on how you want to think, feel and show up, rather than spending your time trying to manage them, which is exhausting. This way of conceptualizing your relationship will save you a lot of energy and time. Inside my coaching groups, we call this staying in your model and staying out of someone else's model, or staying in your lane and out of somebody else's lane. So let's imagine a bunch of cars on a freeway. Each person has a car which has a steering wheel, acceleration pedal and brake pedal. The car body creates a boundary. It's a container for you as you drive. When we try to operate outside of our car, our boundary, there will be a hot mess going on the freeway. We can't control the other person's steering wheel or pedals. Only they can. So we stay in our car, our lane, and focus on how we are driving and what we will do when they do what they do. If you can learn to mentally look at your relationship in this way, you can change the way you're thinking, and that may be the extent of the boundary you set. Often, people are confused about boundaries. They see them as a way to manipulate and control others, as they set expectations about how other people should behave. This is not a boundary, but a manual that you have for someone. Boundaries are not about making people behave a certain way. Rather, they are an expression of how you will behave, what you will and won't allow in your life. Instead of trying to manage the other person, you manage yourself. You don't need to announce all of your boundaries, as there may be a common understanding. However, sometimes you want to let someone know what your boundary is because it's not clear to them. Now, you aren't dictating what they can and cannot do. You are simply letting them know your boundary. So once you establish a boundary, how do you deal with someone crossing it? If someone started having a picnic in your yard, you would tell them this is private property and ask them to move their picnic elsewhere. But if they refuse to leave or return to the next day, you could call the police for trespassing. Notice, they keep doing whatever they want and you can't stop them, but you get to decide what you will do when they do it. Using the property metaphor, if someone comes to your house wearing muddy boots and wants to come in, you might ask them to take off their shoes first. If they refuse to take them off, you would not open the door and allow them to come in. Let's say one of my kids' friends comes to my house, puts on explicit music. They may not be aware that we don't allow that in our home, and so I would first tell them if they want to listen to music, they have to pick something with different lyrics. Let's say they continue to play music with explicit lyrics, then I would say hey, if you continue to play that music, you're going to have to leave. Now I can't make them stop playing the music and I really can't even make them leave, but I can make a phone call if they refuse to leave after me, asking I'm not making a threat, I'm not punishing them, I'm just doing what I need to do to protect and honor my boundary. If I was at someone's house with my kids and the homeowner started watching a sexually explicit program on TV, I might say I'm not really comfortable with this and we're going to head out if you want to play it, notice. I'm not saying they have to stop playing it. I'm saying I will leave if they want to play it. I'm doing something for myself and my family, not against them. I'm not using a boundary to enforce my manual. I have a boundary around staying out too late. My friends and family know that I start to turn into a pumpkin after nine and it's not that I won't stay out later than that. But when making plans I will let them know. I prefer to start the evening earlier rather than later. If my family wants to stay later, I know I can take my car so I don't have to stay later than I want. But they still have the freedom to stay if they want. Now, this doesn't mean sometimes I will not choose to stay out later. If I want to compromise the time, I just set my boundary around this rather than putting it on the other person. I also have a boundary around alone time If I don't get enough time by myself. Each day I ask for it and if I don't get it, I create it. I will get up early, go on a walk or take time at the end of the day by myself. Now, my family is really good about giving me that space. But let's say they weren't. Let's say I just want an hour to myself and they kept interrupting the time. That's their choice. The issue isn't whether they're honoring it, but whether I'm honoring my boundary with myself. If I don't honor my boundary, they won't believe me when I tell them something important. If I don't honor my boundary, they won't believe me when I tell them something is important. If people don't honor my boundaries, I need to take action to honor them. We talked about desires in wants last week, and I encourage you to have conversations with your spouse, if you are married, about what you both want. Talking about what you think is and isn't appropriate can be really helpful, especially if you tend to be a people pleaser or you're in a relationship with the other person is dominating or manipulative and it doesn't seem like they hear you or care about your boundaries. This is where it's important that you don't try to control the other person, as that will be impossible and leave you feeling powerless. Instead, manage yourself in what you're going to do in those situations. If you don't know what you need, want or value, you will create a situation where you aren't setting boundaries and are easily dominated, and you won't trust or respect yourself and you definitely won't step up to protect yourself. Some of you have childhoods where your boundaries were violated and, as a result, you lack the confidence and courage to stand up for yourself. Getting help from a therapist or coach so you can learn how to show up for yourself, even if it upsets the other person, is such important work. That is so much of the work we do in Clarity and Courage. We learn how to stop expecting other people to take care of us and to step up to the plate with the Lord as our shepherd so we can engage with the world with clarity and courage instead of seeking the approval of others. We learn how to drop our manuals for other people and respect their boundaries once in desires, so we can focus on our want matches where we want to be with each other. If you aren't in clarity and courage, it's my coaching group for Christian women. Join and cancel anytime. I would love to have you, as this is where we apply all the concepts that we learn on the podcast. I want to give you some examples of boundaries within a marriage. One of those could be personal space. Each person has the right to have personal space and time to themselves. This could mean having certain hobbies or activities, respecting the need for a long time and allowing each other to maintain individual identities within the relationship. I know my husband and I have certain things we do independently of one another and we support each other in these things. Every year, he does an annual lake trip with his best friends from high school, and every year I travel and meet with life code friends to have a fun weekend in Dallas where I learn and am inspired. These are just a few ways we honor each other's individual identities. A second common area where there may be boundary violations are around communication. Agreeing on how to express emotions, talk about sensitive topics and establish guidelines for handling conflict can be very helpful. To have conversations about how you're going to talk about things. One thing I teach my clients is to have some flood plan for when things get emotionally flooded. We know our brains don't work well in a heightened emotional state. So it's important to be able to pause a conversation that is escalating and give one another space to calm down before coming back together to have the conversation. That can be such a great way to improve your communication. You might set a boundary by agreeing to talk about things as long as there is no yelling or criticism. If you have communicated your boundary and the other person refuses to pause the conversation, you might leave and go to the bathroom or take a walk. A third area is around financial issues. This might be to finding spending limits, discussing goals and responsibilities and discussing what you both want. If one person is notorious for racking up debt and does not want to curb their spending, but you do then you will need to establish a boundary of what you will do if they continue to incur debt. Another area that we may have boundary issues within our relationship is around privacy and trust. Trust is crucial in a marriage and establishing boundaries around privacy can contribute to that foundation of trust. This might involve respecting each other's personal devices, social media accounts, private conversations, maintaining confidentiality and refraining from invading personal space without permission In cases where there has been a violation of trust in the marriage using private devices and both parties want to create healing and move forward. One might agree to forfeit their privacy as a way to build trust. For instance, where you have a spouse who is betrayed the other person maybe through texting or using an app to forge an intimate relationship that violates their marriage, then, as a path to healing, I suggest the one who betrayed the other give up privacy on their phone, offering full transparency as a way to build trust. In exchange, the other person is open to forgiveness and building trust again. However, it is contingent upon the willingness of the other to be transparent. The final area that I think we can see some boundary violations or boundary concerns is around time management. Being able to balance time between personal, professional and family obligations can be challenging in a marriage, and so having conversations about your desires, his desires, time management and how you're going to make things happen can be the beginning of establishing boundaries in this area. Taking ownership of how you can meet your needs rather than putting this on the other person is an example of setting a healthy boundaries. So if date nights are super important to you and your partner is willing to do them, but maybe is not reliable and scheduling them, then who better than you to plan those regular date nights, rather than being upset he's not planning them. Why not, either ask for his involvement by having a conversation, and if he isn't good at following through in that area but you are, then you take ownership for creating the date night that you desire. You cannot demand someone follow through on something. You cannot demand someone respect you. You cannot demand someone be who you think they should be. It doesn't work. It creates so much conflict and if you can control them or coax them into being who you want them to be, they're not even actually being who they are. They're just people pleasing, which is a lie. Instead, focus on this how do you want to show up? How do you want to follow through? How do you want to respect yourself, being who you want to be? This is setting a boundary and it always starts in your mind. All right, my friends, this is what I have for you today. This is one of the most challenging things that you will do, but if you honor your boundaries and honor other people's boundaries, then you will have much healthier relationships. You won't have to block people out from your life. You won't have to avoid them or tell them not to come around. If you maintain your own healthy boundaries knowing your thoughts, feelings and actions are your responsibility and stay out of the other persons, then you are going to have those healthier relationships. So next week we're going to continue this series and we're going to talk about love ability, about being loved and feeling loved and feeling loving, being loving, all the love. So I can't wait and I will talk to you then. See you soon. Bye.