Skip to content


July 17, 2013


“Whatever you are willing to put up with, is exactly what you will have.”
— Anonymous

I love this saying – and I hate it…because it is really true!

This quote, for me, is about one of the most difficult challenges in my life…boundaries. I don’t think I even gave boundaries the tiniest of considerations until I became an adult. I had no idea that all my relationships were pretty much guided by any of the personal boundaries I had or failed to have. But I’ve come to understand that all my expectations from others and from life itself are reflected in my boundaries.

Somewhere along the line, it became my job to know when I wanted to say “yes” or “no,” how my values impacted these determinations, how this connected to my self-respect, and what my needs were and weren’t — yep, all issues tied into boundaries.

I will admit it, this has been and still is a tough issue for me. Our boundaries, like so much else in our lives, are heavily impacted by our family of origin and lines were most definitely NOT outlined clearly in mine. The results are many instances of blurred lines which mean I cross over into things that are not mine in my personal relationships still…but I am learning. It takes a lot of vigilance and self-reflection, but I am getting better at I stand in my own space more often all the time.

I’ve begun to believe the boundaries we set show others how we love ourselves. By learning to unfuzz the lines between ourselves and other people in our lives, we choose to take on only the things truly within our control – only the things that really are ours to be involved with in the first place. This way we put our efforts, heart and focus onto things that we need to take care of and don’t overtax ourselves (showing one aspect of the self-love) but also, showing respect for the other people in our lives by allowing them the freedom to do their own thing, without us trying to control the outcome.



Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is difficult because they change as our sense of ourselves change. What we feel about ourselves is not the same day after day, at times, not even minute after minutes. Finding a balance between over committing and setting rigid unyielding boundaries, and under committing without any boundaries at all is not an easy task. We are not educated about these things as we grow up.

We begin with rulebooks and beliefs that are instilled in us when we are young – and we believe that this is how things need to be. The other day, my significant other told me that his elderly aunt passed away. She was in her late 90s and I only met her once, but I often gave my unsolicited advice about how he should call her and visit her more often over the years.

When he told me that she passed away, I don’t know what caused me to ask him how long he knew about it, but something made me feel as if it were not brand new information. I was correct. He admitted that he learned about it a few weeks prior to when he told me. And, without my being able to head it off at the pass, my feelings boarded a run-away train. I felt so terribly hurt and upset with him for not sharing this information with me before hand.
He explained that he was apprehensive about telling me because he didn’t want to hear the litany of “I told you so’s” that he was sure would follow. I don’t know that he was totally correct, but I am quite sure I would have found a way to let him know that he made a poor choice by not making the time to visit her or call her more often.
We argued about how upset I got that he didn’t tell me because of course, I immediately connected this to all the other times I felt justified in his demonstrating his lack of sharing things with me that I felt he ought to.

So lets get back to the topic of boundaries – where the heck were mine? NOWHERE, that’s where. I had none at all. I crossed over into his relationship with his aunt, I judged him for how he chose to handle this relationship. And I totally blew things out of proportion with my over-emotional response to his choosing not to share it with me.



What was this all about – I asked myself after I walked away from the ‘scene of the crime’ and gave myself the time and space I needed for some ‘under-the-hood’ work.

Well, to start with I had some very hard-wired beliefs and expectations at the root of things. I believed that he needed to feel toward his aunt the way I wanted him to…My belief system – not his….AND not even one I have challenged or explored based on the individual people involved here (of which I am not one). This was between him and his aunt, PERIOD.

And as far as his not discussing this with me ‘soon enough’ for my own expectations, again, there was an old, long-time belief I was holding onto that caused me to feel excluded and unimportant because “I would have told him,” had it been me. By detaching in the way I did, I began to challenge myself and wonder about this.

It went something like this – “so what if he didn’t do what you would do? How does that tie into how he feels about you and how important you are in his life?”

The answer objectively is “it doesn’t connect at all.” They are two totally separate things and there is a clear separation between the two – but I responded as if they were one in the same.

Like I said – this is a journey – not a final destination – so I promise to keep you all informed as I keep working on this one myself. In the meanwhile, I sure hope it provides you with some insight into a better way to live.


I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

  1. I usually do not leave a leave a response, however I read a few of the responses on LEARNING TO DETACH | Color My Words.
    I actually do have a few questions for you if
    it’s okay. Could it be just me or do some of the remarks look as if they are written by brain dead individuals? 😛 And, if you are posting on other online sites, I would like to keep up with you. Would you post a list of all of your social community sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  2. Appreciate this post. Will try it out.

  3. Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest
    authoring a blog article or vice-versa? My blog discusses a lot of the same topics as
    yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you happen to be interested feel free to send me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Excellent blog by the way!

  4. bookmarked!!, I love your website!

  5. What’s up i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read this paragraph i thought i could also create comment due to this good paragraph.

  6. bruno o permalink

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking
    and checking back often!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: