Protect Your Safety Zone

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poem boundaries with grass and a yellow flower400

One day not long ago someone was talking about boundaries. They said I have strong boundaries and expect them to be respected. This statement is true. I learned to build boundaries to protect myself from those who want me to live life their way.

There are many dysfunctional people in this world who want you to be dysfunctional just as they are. I struggle to keep my life functional as I am sure you do also. Today a person who has recovered from violence is the majority, and the person who has grown up in a functional home is the minority.

I often refer to a person who is trying to change my boundaries as someone who is trying to mow down my barriers or break into my safety zone. And in the past, I have pictured my boundaries as solid walls that I will not let anyone break through.

But this past week I realized that a boundary of brick and mortar is one that will keep me from the world as well as keep the world from me. If you have strong limits such as these, you too will begin to smother and feel lost.

Why? Well because you have to have boundaries that are strong and sway with the wind. You have to have limitations that you are willing to change with time. You change and grow, so the way you keep yourself safe also has to change.

You come across different people who treat you and your parameters differently. So the ones who respect your safety zone are the ones you want to let in. You want to keep the harmful people who do not respect you as an individual from affecting your inner core.

Let’s take a moment to step back. I learned about setting boundaries at around the age 30. I read a book that shaped and changed my life.

Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I recommend it to everyone who wants to care for themselves.



Boundaries

What does it mean to set boundaries? Here are three quotes from a newer book like Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud. These quotes will help you understand better what I am attempting to say.white puppy running

“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end, and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility gives me freedom. Taking responsibility for my life opens up many different options. Boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out.”
― Henry Cloud, Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How to Say No

In this quote, we see clearly what a boundary is. A boundary allows you to decide who you want in your life and how you want them to be a part of your life. The barriers you place around your safety zone help you to be responsible and have the freedom to feel safe.

If you were a victim of a person who took your boundaries away, you don’t know how to set your safety zone. You have to learn to set these parameters to protect yourself so you can grow while you are free from harm.

Walls or reeds of grass

“Things can hurt and not harm us. In fact, they can even be good for us. And things that feel good can be very puppy and big dog nose to noseharmful to us.”
― Henry Cloud, Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How to Say No

Walls of brick and mortar, strong and tall may be keeping you safe, but they may not be the right ones for you. These solid walls can smother you and keep you from the freedom you will gain from interacting with others.

The walls will keep you in and others out but will not let you breathe in the world and what good things it has in store for you. So to keep yourself safe does not mean to wall yourself off from the world. You may need to picture your wall as a hedge of very tall reed grass. People can go around, in between or they can mow it down. But the tall grass will sway in the wind and allow you to continue to grow.

Changing your safety zone

“It’s important to understand that your no is always subject to you. You own your boundaries. They don’t own you. puppy looking up at cameraIn addition, you can change the boundary if you are in a safer place.”
― Henry Cloud, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

Now you ask how can you keep the bad out and allow the good in if your wall has holes in it. That is where it is vital to understand that you can empower yourself. You can say no. This simple “no” tells others that you are not going to allow them to come through your tall reed grass. If they respect you, they will accept the no and move away from your boundaries.

If they do not accept your “no”, then you can change the boundary to a stronger hold. You can make the grass thicker and taller and wider. Which means you can not only use “no”, but you can move away from that person. You do not have to let someone into your safety zone just because they pushed their way in.

The safe zone is your world for you to own, be responsible for, learn from, and feel free to be who you are.

Safety antennas

I want to cover one more thing before we move on. I keep antennas on my boundaries. Antennas that alert me to danger and allow me to strengthen my safety zone. I trust these antennas when they start to make a noise in my peaceful, functional world. If they say run or stay away from a particular person I do so.

If they tell me to stay away and I don’t listen I reserve the right to run anytime I feel the need. Your antennas will continue to parole your boundaries to keep you aware of impending danger. Your antennas are your instincts.

Recap

I have used brick and mortar and tall reed grass as ways to picture your boundaries. You can use any picture in your mind that may help you stand your ground and let your “no” be “no” and your “yes” be “yes.”

The most important part of this poem and article I would like for you to take home with you is: It is good to set boundaries. When you do, please keep in mind that you do so to protect yourself, empower yourself, and set you free.

When you build your parameters, make sure you are not creating them so tight that you can not change them and move them as you see fit. Your freedom relies on this. As you feel safe, you lessen the no and as you feel threatened you strengthen the no.

Do not keep walls up around you that keep you from the world. You will become lonely, and the fear of your past will grow to overtake your life. Let the wind allow your reed grass to sway, grow and change as needed.

If you make a mistake and allow someone into your safe zone and find they are not safe, then trust your instincts (antennas) to guide you and reserve the right to walk away at any time. Do not allow manipulation to keep you in a situation that is disrespectful and fearful.

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11 thoughts on “Protect Your Safety Zone”

  1. Personally, I feel that I have been building various types of boundaries towards the world. Some boundaries as you mention are made of brick and mortar to separate you from toxic people, and they work very well.The problem I think about is when you start to build such boundaries with everyone all the time unconsciously, even with your own family or with your coworkers! And without realizing it, you isolate yourself sometimes in your home or in your professional activity.I think it is important to evaluate such boundaries, modify some and eliminate others frequently. From time to time it is also worth risking to cross unknown boundaries because there can be a whole valuable world behind them.

    • Tommy, this is exactly what I am talking about. When we have been hurt by someone we feel we have to build boundaries of brick and mortar that are immovable. But in time it is important to re-evaluate these boundaries and change them so we don’t miss out on the goodness that we can allow into our lives. It is a balance to know when to risk it and when to stay away. I pray that you can find this balance. 

  2. My problems, honestly, has been more on the side of no boundaries than boundaries.  I have taken homeless people home to the dismay of my parents, I have let people in my car and home that were probably not the best choices, and I have let people way too much into my life than was good for me for sure.  I need to set better boundaries and realize that not everyone is just like me.  Not everyone lives without an agenda.  Not everyone is kind and giving and caring.  I tend to think everyone is wonderful, and without some kind of realistic boundaries, this can be harmful to me.

    When I had children, my boundaries naturally went up around myself and my children because then I was in safety mode.  I was still considerate and caring of others, but I certainly would not invite a homeless person into my home with my children.  Perhaps they are the ones that helped me to create better boundaries and to be more realistic about the world around me.

    It’s sad to me that we need boundaries.  I wish we could live without them.  It’s kind of like the southern border wall.  My heart tells me to let everyone from Central America in.  I watch Joyce Meyer ministries and I see all the help she gives these poor people down there and the horrible conditions with the gangs.  My head tells me we need the boundaries for those exact reasons.  I want to keep my children and my grandchildren safe.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking article. 

    • Oh My, Your lack of boundaries frightens me. The world is full of unhealthy and harmful people. People who were raised in a functional family learn to set boundaries at an early age. But everyone has boundaries of some sort. I am happy your children helped you to see that boundaries are good. 

      I have strong boundaries because I had to learn to grow them but I am also a very kind-hearted person and at times see only the good in others. The mistakes we make help us to grow. I do not think boundaries are sad at all. They tell us that we care for and love ourselves. 

      The wall that everyone is talking about is not a boundary like I am referring to. It is a wall to the world. I believe it is sad that we even have to consider building a wall. There are so many people in this world who have so little and are suffering. And this is caused by people who are unkind and believes the world owes them something. By those who refuse to take responsibility for themselves, such as gangs. 

      The wall is a good example of how if each one of us individually tries to take care of the world we will not have enough left for ourselves and our families. I am sure this sounds selfish to you. But I assure you that if we do not properly care for ourselves we can not care for and love another with all of our heart. 

      God has done an excellent work keeping you safe. 

  3. Thank you for this post,i heard about boundaries at a younger age than yours, I think when I was 23,i set boundaries for myself but oftentimes I let myself down allowing empathy and emotion to get the better of me and letting go of my boundaries,i tried to avoid many people but at the long run I just find them fit in into the whole stereotype again.i respect people and I wouldn’t want them tag me proud by continuously avoiding them. I this part of the world where there is high homogenousity amidst people I must confess is hard building a long lasting boundaries.

    • Boundaries are something in our lives we learn and grow with. Perhaps you felt bad because someone was manipulating you and trying to make you feel like less of a person when you felt as if you were too proud. Avoiding others and setting boundaries to protect you against manipulation are 2 completely different things. 

      First, to build a “long-lasting boundary” we must first see ourselves as worthy to be treated well. We must respect our self-worth and see that others should not be mean and harm us. 

      So many often think a boundary is walling ourselves off from the world and refusing to care. If the boundaries are properly set to protect ourselves then we are doing just the opposite. We are caring for and about others because we first respected ourselves enough to care for us. 

      I do hope you can understand what a boundary is and begin to truly care for you. 

  4. Thanks for for this soul lifting article, I have been a victim of my circumstances by refusing to setup a boundary between me and certain people and when you let your guard down at that point in time you can’t take it back, it still plays in my head on repeat.I did build a wall around me to prevent it from happening again and after reading your article I realized truly that I wasn’t existing, and if I was I was living in fear. I think all that has changed today because of you,  you’re far too kind.

    • Oh, I do hope that this has truly helped you see boundaries are not walls and they can be very good. No one I mean no one should be given permission to harm another person. We are the ones for ourselves who have to decide who will be let into our world and who will not. Be kind to yourself. Setting boundaries is a life long process and will change with each new person you meet. 

  5. Nicely written post. I think the point you made about how walls keep harmful things out but also keep you from the rest of the world is well made. I’ve met a lot of people who don’t let anyone in. Maybe they’ve been hurt before, maybe it’s their defense mechanism, but just as you said, they aren’t allowing themselves to breathe or even live. This is a timely post and I’m glad I found it. Thank you!

    • Eric, I remember you commented on another post of mine about narcissists. And yes when someone is hurt real bad it takes time to heal. At first, their boundaries are the strong wall that keeps others out. but as time moves on if that person heals, grows and learns it is good for them to reset their boundaries and change them with time. 

      I am so happy I can help you with this post. That is my hearts desire in life. Thank you for reading and commenting and so often putting yourself out there. I can see you are ever growing and changing to improve who you are. 

  6. Hey Laura
    It’s so good to have read this post as I too have let my boundaries down at times and paid dearly for this mistake.
    These days, I know within a few seconds what I need to do to protect myself and because my boundaries are solid, I, fortunately, don’t get hurt now.
    I feel as Empaths we need to place the pink light around ourselves before we reach out to anyone and keep ourselves protected at all times. Our energy can be taken so quick if we don’t do this.
    Saying No- Wonderful- you are so right no is no and yes is yes and people need to understand how strong these 2 words are when used
    A fabulous post and I love the poem
    Always so inspiring to come visit Laura, thank you

    • Awww Vicki, Thanks for stopping by once again. Such a beautiful comment. I have to watch my energy close also. I have learned when to protect myself with my boundary antennas. But I don’t know anything about the pink light. I will need to look into this one. It sounds like it would be helpful. Thank you for your compliment and once again I do appreciate your visits and input.

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