Why Setting Boundaries Can Actually Help You

When I sat down to write this blog entry, I was at a small café around the corner from our laundromat. I ordered a mocha for the first time in ages, and it was glorious. But instead of pulling out my laptop, I grabbed my journal and just started to write. At first, I had no idea where it was going. But as my pen started stroking the lined pages, the words came to me. I finally understood.

I need more time to pause, reflect, and play.

And right now, I’m just not getting it. Yet…I seem to always have enough time for television…

As I wrote this entry, I was just rolling off a weekend of long naps and a lot of binge watching. Despite my relaxed state and comfy sweater, I felt groggy and hallow as the weekend was drawing to a close. Why? Because even if I meant to be doing something relaxing, I wasn’t doing anything fulfilling.

For me, fulfilling does not include the television, and I’m learning that I need much stricter boundaries with my TV time compared to the rest of the world. It sucks me in, chews me raw, and spits out pieces of me that I don’t like. And hours after binging a show, I feel no more relaxed than I did when I first hopped onto the couch. Moving forward, I made the promise to do what “normal” people used to do with their TV shows: One a week, leaving myself with the curiosity of what happens next.

Now I don’t expect you to make the same type of promise because maybe watching television relaxes you more than it ever could for me. But I bet there is something in your life that stands in the way of what you’re meant to do. Leaving you feeling frazzled and nowhere close to your goals before. For me, that’s television. But maybe for you that’s social media, or video games, or even your job. These are good things, yes, but have you actually set boundaries for the things you can’t seem to control? Things that aren’t giving you that full freedom to be who you are made to be?

I know some of you probably think this is absolutely ridiculous—and if that’s you, I’m jealous! You can live in a world where you don’t need to set boundaries because you naturally set them without realizing it. Yet for the rest of us, for the ones who still need rules to follow in order to stay on track for your goals. I get you. I’m here for you. Heck, I am you.

When I think of setting boundaries, I can’t help but think of my parents. Without the rules or boundaries they set in our household, I wouldn’t have learned the valuable lessons I now know today.

“Dinner before dessert.”

“No playing until homework is done.”

“Keep your body and hair clean or you’ll smell.”

“Sharing is caring.”

“Work hard and you’ll see results.”

The boundaries they set even make me think of those in my religion. How God also sets boundaries in order to protect us from harm. Not to limit us from goodness, but to create the opportunity for even more goodness in our lives. He creates space for us to fully be who He created us to be.

Even if you believe in God or don’t, I think there’s a fundamental truth there that we can all learn from:

Boundaries don’t close doors, they open them.

It will initially hurt to cut yourself off from that thing that you are borderline addicted to. But it will later bear the sweetest fruit when you find yourself drawing closer to the goals you’ve been craving to achieve.

In my case, I need serious boundaries on TV time. I need more time spent with pen to paper. And I need reminders that my worth is not in my achievements, but in something much greater.

So where do we go from here? Here are a few reflection questions to consider:

  • What is the thing holding you back from achieving your goals?
  • What would be a healthy boundary to set for yourself?
  • What else do you need to do in order to fulfill those dreams?

Now download this background to remind yourself:

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