Family Ties, that is. Yes. I said it.
And my family is important to me. Vitally important.
Some may argue the contrary.
But I have worked long and hard (my entire life, in fact) to grow and improve on who I am as a person. Out of that hard work was born a very strong protective nature for establishing and fiercely protecting healthy boundaries where relationships are concerned.
How does one establish healthy boundaries, and just what are boundaries? I’m glad you asked.
Here is an illustration that should help.
Picture this: My head, surrounded by a grassy yard, with a white picket fence as its boundary.
I know it’s just a sketch, but inside the fence is my green, grassy yard, which represents all the things in my life – all of the choices in my life. I own those.
Outside of the white picket fence are things that everyone else in my world, including my siblings, kids, etc… have going on – their choices.
Sometimes a person’s choices infiltrate my yard, if I let them. For instance, if someone makes a choice that positively or negatively affects me, a family member, my children or loved ones, I then make the CHOICE to either accept or deny that situation access to my “yard.”
When crotchety Uncle Leo says something horribly mean and hurtful to my nephew Wilfred, I can choose to bring it into my yard, making that situation one of my responsibilities, nurturing it all the way to its conclusion – OR – I can choose to not allow it into my yard, instead loving from a distance and offering unattached advice to my nephew; advice I am willing to let go of, and never worry another moment about.
The latter, you lovely men and women, is the healthiest choice. And I’m not one of those people who’s afraid to get involved. Who’s writing this post here? I ALWAYS love me some juicy stuff to get involved in, that’s for certain. It’s really because I LOVE allowing people to handle and deal with their “yard” with the tools they have in the moment more than anything. Most times it is pretty miraculous to behold what people can do.
You could ask “well, what if your best friend needs financial help?” I can only answer it this way: I have a few choices, but in terms of boundaries and healthy, smart choices, there are only two I consider: 1) I can opt to help that friend, loan them money, and then lord over them to pay it back, taking that loan and their financial situation into my yard as my own. Or 2) I can work off of a decision I made long ago that I should never loan money, unless I can afford to let it go completely and leave it up to the person and their path to be responsible to pay it back, never worrying another moment. Then if I lend the money, I let it go – totally. But whatever the choice, we must OWN it. If I loan money and cannot forget about it, but instead, must have the money back regardless of situation, then I am inviting that situation into my yard, and now I own it. If I’m okay with that then it’s fine. Otherwise, it’s still a choice I made, which I must deal with.
Recently, some members of my family tried to throw the shackles on me, my white picket fence, and my yard too. They asked me (and some other siblings) to OWN their choices, and help them out of an unfortunate situation. Sorry. Couldn’t and wouldn’t do it. I did not have the resources to help, and I would not have helped if I did because it was a repeated situation we had already dealt with. We siblings had lovingly warned them that something like their unfortunate situation would happen down the road, should they not heed our advice. We each offered suggestions as to how the situation could be handled to avoid coming to an unwanted conclusion, but to no avail.
I found myself in that all-too-familiar situation of being “the bad guy” as this unwelcome truth was communicated to these family members. They were not very happy to hear that we siblings wouldn’t own their situations and rescue them from themselves.
Am I wrong to not take these types of things on as my own? Are Family Ties meant to be Binding in the true sense of the word? And aside from boundaries, is it wrong for me to not want to cover anyone’s ass (yes, even the asses of my siblings) when they make unhealthy, underhanded, lazy, or irresponsible choices (or how about just plain friggin’ STUPID choices)?
What say you? Let’s hear it…
Love you people!!! Mmmmmpphhhhuuuhhhh!!!
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