I like to say boundaries are how we tell where we end and others begin.
Which as you probably know is CRITICAL for consent.
But it’s more than that.
Boundaries is about knowing yourself, and what works and does not work for you. They are about knowing where you are not sure about what you do or don’t want, and being aware that that part of you is in flux, and guarding it while you find your way.
And boundaries are never more necessary than when you are in a relationship.
Because how we set our boundaries will determine how much control another person has over us—what we do, how we think.
Like when someone tells us that we are not enough.
Not good-looking enough.
Not neat enough.
Not on-time enough.
Not caring enough.
Not sexy enough.
Not kinky enough.
Or maybe that we are too much.
Too dumb (or intellectual).
And they are right. FOR THEM.
Not necessarily about you.
You may be incredibly intellectual and often late.
For one partner, that may drive them insane. Make them spitting mad, and fuming every time you take too long to get out the door, or try to break a conversation down to get to the heart of it, instead of just feeling your way through.
For the right partner for you, they might help you with your lateness, or just plan around it, smiling as they do. They may enjoy the deep dive with you, or just sit amazed as you think thing they never thought. Because they love you the way you are, and can’t help but enjoy it when you are very you.
Some people will LOVE your kinks, and enjoy exploring them and all that you are with you.
Some people might think your kinks mean you are broken and need fixing, or that you’re a sicko, or a weirdo. That’s OK. They are not a fit for you.
And only by knowing your boundaries can you separate what’s right for them from what’s right for you, and not take their right and try to wear it like an ill-fitting suit.
Someone said to me on a writing:
I’m just starting to believe that some of the things I’ve been told are in fact, untrue.
Which made me think about something that makes a HUGE difference.
What people tell us may be true. FOR THEM.
Which gives them the courage of their convictions. Make them sincere. So none of the signs of lying are there, because they are telling the truth AS THEY SEE IT.
That does not make it true/validate it for US.
We are different people.
With different experiences and desires and needs in life. Different personalities and ways of parsing the world. Different priorities. Different challenges and abilities.
So what is unrealistic or seems selfish to one person is not reaching nearly high enough/self-care enough for another.
Or, like one person may find it easy to run, and says, “Just get out there and DO IT,” while the other has exertional asthma, and needs to build themselves up, or may never be happy running—but may love hiking for hours or all day.
The people telling you how to live your life may mean well, they are just missing the parts that make their experiences less “right” for you—or for others.