Boundaries; Why We Need Them

By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Recently, one of my FB friends was displeased with me because I deleted a comment she made on my wall. I had written a quote and a short statement after the quote and she responded to the post. After I deleted her first comment, she wrote a second one and I once again deleted her comment. The third comment she wrote, in response, was on her own wall and I had no power to delete it and this was the point. You see, what other people do is their business and I have no attachment to it, but what other people do to me…now that’s a different story.

We all have a responsibility to ourselves and to the people around us to make some clear and well defined boundaries. Boundaries let others know what you will and will not accept. In my example with my FB friend, I had written a post and she responded in a way that I felt was not in alignment with the post, so I deleted her comment. She did not like the fact that I deleted her post and she told me that “it saddened” her. My response was to let her know that it was not my intention to “sadden” her.[I think she was half joking; she was not really sad.] My intention was to make it clear to her that her comment was not acceptable to me and by deleting it, I believe that I did that. When she wrote on her own wall, I had no attachment to what she wrote…her wall; her boundaries. 🙂

Sometimes people will not like the boundaries that you set and some may even deliberately cross the boundaries but that does not in any way invalidate the boundary. Again, your responsibility is to set the boundary-whether someone likes the boundary or not is not your business.

If a person deliberately crosses the boundary, you may remind them of the boundary, but don’t take it personally because their inability to respect boundaries is their “stuff”; not yours. If a person is consistently crossing your boundaries and you have been diligently reminding them of the said boundaries, then it’s decision time. People either contaminate or contribute to our lives and boundaries make it easier to see the difference. It is your decision who you allow in your life.

I’m not saying that we should all go around setting unnecessary boundaries and trying to decide if people are crossing them or not. Some boundary crossing is harmless, like the guy [or gal] at work who always gets right in your face during conversation or the boss who loves to touch people while he is talking to them or even my FB friend who from time to time writes silly things on my wall! What I am saying is: be clear about what you will and will not accept. The people who deserve to be in your life will respect that and those who don’t won’t.

Nomalanga helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , a former College Professor and Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter

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4 Responses to “Boundaries; Why We Need Them”

  1. Amma says:

    Thank you for writing this! I seem to have this issue with particular people almost everyday where they keep crossing the line. I’m almost at the point of simply unfriending them. I’ve done so in the past only to wonder if I was harsh but sometimes it’s the only way people get the message.

    Your conclusion says it all though: “the people who deserve to be in your life will respect that and those who don’t won’t,” and I couldn’t agree with you more. I love your articles by the way.

  2. JeniFa says:

    Absolutely think that boundaries are a necessity and that those who have them live pretty healthy lives.

  3. Kim says:

    Great article!

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