There’s nothing like a new love. You know what I mean? When you fall in love with someone or something and it’s all fresh and new? It can happen when you go and visit another country and you “fall in love with the people” or you “fall in love with the food.” It can happen when you learn a new language. It can happen, in the most common reference to love, when you meet someone new.
It’s that new love that opens your eyes to seeing things you never saw before, things that may have been there all along. It’s exhilarating. It’s breathe taking. It’s filled with possibility.
I have recently fallen in love with something that, in the past, I wanted no part of. That something is boundaries. I know this sounds crazy, but keep reading. You’ll get what I mean.
I grew up in a home that honored love, freedom, nature and fun as some of our top values. We call my dad a hippy and he embraces it fully. My mom is the sweetest, most loving, dreaming gal on the planet. Put a free spirited hippy and a head in the clouds dreamer together and what do you get? A creative, fun-loving family, free from structure and rules, and free from boundaries.
This environment and these leadership styles produced great things in me- spontaneity, authentic expression, creativity, passionate drive and adaptability. These are all qualities that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
In recent days however, I have come to realize that in order for me to get to my next level I needed something. Something was missing and it came with a great cost. It was costing me a sense of safety and a sense of security. That something that was missing was boundaries. Boundaries are what I needed to create safety and security, so that I could create greater range. Without boundaries and the safety they bring, I was holding myself back. I was limiting my potential.
It has been a process, a painful process, for me to even get to the place of being able to see that this was missing. Prior to my shift in thinking, I wasn’t even aware of how I had perceived boundaries. I was blind to my perspective. I basically avoided them because I saw them as limitations. I associated boundaries with small minded thinking, boring routines, out dated rules, rigid structure, hindering regulations- all things I saw no value in. These things are all part of the dark side of boundaries. But just like there is a flip side to every coin, there is a flip side to boundaries- a light side, a valuable side.
Many people already know this side. You know who you are. You love the clarity that rules and boundaries bring. You’ve experienced all the greatness that boundaries create. You love the safety it creates for you and others. You experience freedom and fun because of these boundaries, not despite them.
My friend Amber is one of these people, who loves boundaries and follows rules. The first time she expressed with zeal that she was a rule follower I was so intrigued. “You mean boundaries and rules are a good thing?”
Amber’s enthusiasm about rules and boundaries cracked open my thinking. I began to notice areas in my life that I did not feel safe and started connecting the dots. Boundaries and rules create safety. Safety creates more freedom, more fun, more possibilities, more range. I realized that my sense of safety was being limited and compromised, due to the lack of clear boundaries in several areas of my life.
I began to embrace rules and boundaries as a means to safety, freedom and fun. I have since fallen in love with all that boundaries can bring. Most valuable to me right now is the SAFETY that boundaries can bring. I’m excited about boundaries now- setting them, embracing them, honoring them and allowing them to create a greater connection with me and those I most love.
So, my question for you is, what is the thing that you avoid or dislike? It may be boundaries, like it was for me. Or it may be the opposite. Maybe you avoid uncertainty and the unknown. Whatever it is that you are avoiding, get curious about it and what the flip side may be. By us leaning into and exploring the things that we avoid, we create new sight. We create new love and from there, we create greater range.
This week, check out the flip side to whatever it is that you consider “bad.” Who knows, you may just fall in love with that other side, the lighter side!
Have a great week filled with boundaries, safety, freedom and fun!
Corry Ann March