A strong and healthy boundary will allow you to encounter the world with strength and confidence, allowing you a fuller expression of yourself without needing to accommodate to your surroundings. Recognizing that YOU are the only thing you can control is the first and biggest step. Then, all that remains is to maintain a sober assessment of yourself and be faithful to that assessment.
Ever have a debate that got a tad bit hostile? Chances are that you have. And what did you do after that debate? You probably went over your argument to figure out what would have been a better comeback… or maybe you just felt embarrassed because you overextended your knowledge on the subject and got caught… or maybe you felt a bit disillusioned because the thing you felt so sure about really wasn’t such a sure thing. Debates are a great because they provide a testing ground for what you believe. You see, its pretty easy to believe something if it’s never been challenged, but to let your convictions be tested is a courageous and honorable thing. It is only by withstanding strong wind that a tree gains strength in its branches. Similarly, steel is made strong and resilient through refining. So it is with your character. So it is with your life.
Debates are a great way to test and improve your boundaries. During a debate, you must maintain a sober assessment of how much you know and how much you do not know or risk looking like a fool. You must also assert yourself enough to be taken seriously, while remaining flexible enough remain open to dialogue. You must take person’s point of view seriously, while maintaining a healthy skepticism to keep from accepting anything too easily. You must give yourself permission to be right and permission to be wrong. Above all, you must recognize your position as a flawed, biased, human being with limited knowledge sparring against another flawed, biased human being with limited knowledge… and as steel sharpens steel, so you will sharpen each other.
Debate is an excellent way to test out how strong and healthy your boundaries are. Through debate, you attempt to compel the other person to accept what you have come to believe while recognizing their autonomy and sanctity at the same time. A successful debate is not measured by who won, but by the quality of the arguments, the honesty of the arguer, and constructive nature of the dialogue. If these three qualities are present, the debate is productive. If they are absent, the debate has likely lowered itself to the sad position of a prideful tirade.
So why bring up debate as way to speak about healthy boundaries?… because they are fundamental part of all engaging relationships. Any time values, beliefs, convictions, and passions are discussed, it will contribute to the formative nature of yourself and the other, changing those involved. Practicing and maintaining healthy boundaries will give you the power to maintain your sense of self while being able to be around others.
In short, you have the power to change your marriage because you can control yourself. You have the power to change your career because you can control yourself. Look at the many problems you may have had with family members, loved ones, and co-workers and you will likely find that some boundaries have been crossed. Maintaining those boundaries is key to maintaining those relationships. In closing, I give you the word attributed to Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.