Boundaries, When to Draw the Line

Boundaries, When to Draw the Line

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By Hamdiatu Yakuba

“Boundaries'' sounds familiar, right? When was the last time you used or heard this word. I am sure it’s been a while since it's usually associated with geography and what? Land! Yeah, sort of. This word literally means “partition, division, limitation, separation.” Yet, it can also mean “rules, principles, distance, and space.” 

As humans we are bound to make or have relationships with others. We naturally live in, by, and with these bonds, in various settlements of our lives. We let people in and out of our lives voluntarily and somewhat not, all depending on circumstances and seasons, maybe. Our personalities allow us to accommodate and treat others in ways acceptable to us and them, which either becomes a norm or vice. 

Now, back to boundaries, as mentioned earlier, they are limitations set for two parties. This could be the normal boundaries between countries, cities, regions, lands, houses, etc. But, hey! We do have personal, emotional, love, social boundaries, and others. They constitute the rules we set for ourselves, how we want to be treated, living standards, etc.

We all have boundaries set for and by ourselves and also sometimes by society, family, religion, or ethnicity. They sum up to make or unmake us. The extent to which we conform to these boundaries define our relationships with ourselves and others. 

What are some things you have set for yourself? We all have personal rules, which I call “principles.” Do you abide by them always or have exceptions when you deem fit just to suit yourself for others and also, to satisfy others?  The boundaries we set for ourselves are flexible and can be changed from time to time to suit ourselves, but not so for others. There should be a limit to which we condone or allow certain things and people into our lives. 

Have you ever realized or noticed how people react when you no longer accommodate them like you used to do? Thus, when you exercise or draw your social boundaries. When you decide as to whom to accept as a friend and who not to, that is a boundary, and it will affect your relationship with others. This is because they are not used to it or do not expect that from you, better still, they do not want to accept it. Well, it is their problem, I say. It is up to us to decide what, when, or who is OK with regards to our boundary requirements. 

What is OK for you? How do you want to be treated? How do you want others to approach you? What is acceptable to you in a relationship? Whom do you call a friend? What position is comfortable to you? When do you say it is enough? How long would you accommodate that egoistic friend/lover? What sounds morally right to you? What are you willing to adapt to or not? What are you willing to compromise and sacrifice? How do you deal with ungrateful people? When do you make it all about YOU and no one else? Those are boundaries. 

It is OK for people to call you selfish, self-centered, egoistic, heartless, mean, and all the negative words they can think of. Yes, it is OK because that is where and when the line has been drawn. When we set boundaries and say, “It is enough and I deserve to be loved by me.” 

Let’s start setting those boundaries and getting rid of toxic situations in our lives. That way, self-love, self-care, and self-realization happen. Now the future awaits us. Welcome to “MY LIFE!”

I am Hamdiatu Yakubu from Ghana, West Africa. I am currently studying journalism at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I love nature, cooking, watching movies, languages, writing, and photography.