Lately, I’ve been doing some experimenting, in an attempt to get free from a variety of stuck places in my life.
One way of looking at experimentation is to think of it as testing boundaries. To paraphrase Star Trek, to boldly go where you haven’t gone before.
Boundaries are closely linked to freedom. We explore more freely when we know where the boundaries are. We push those boundaries outward to expand our freedom. Sometimes, we have to defend our boundaries and protect our freedom.
Most often, when we speak of boundaries, it’s in a relational context. Boundaries are often how we declare what’s permissible and what’s not in the context of a relationship. And work counts as a relationship; I don’t know why people always want to segregate their professional relationships with their employer or clients and customers from their personal relationships.
People are people, and relationships are relationships. We need clear boundaries in both realms.
In the last few weeks, I’ve discovered that some boundaries needed to be redrawn in order for someone I care about to feel safe in our relationship. The easy thing to do would be simply to declare that area off-bounds; but past experience tells me I asked for that ground for a reason.
I value this person enough to concede the ground they want, but I’ve made the mistake in the past of conceding inch after inch to someone else’s comfort zone till at some point I feel like I’m confined to a metaphorical dog crate. So it’s not going to be concession. It’s going to be negotiation. Negotiation implies conflict, which gives me hives, but it’s necessary.
Meanwhile, in another realm, I’m on the opposite side of the boundary dispute. I need to ask for an established boundary to move, and I suspect my request is not going to be received well. I’m going to have to negotiate there, as well.
But I think all this is good, because it means I’m engaged in my life and relationships instead of just riding the metaphorical Eurail pass.
All this drawing and redrawing of boundaries is me declaring my territory in the world, and you have to declare a territory to take responsibility for it.