When I have a difficult time distinguishing between my unhealthy, controlling behavior and the healthy behavior of setting boundaries, I look at my feelings and motives about what I am doing.

Who am I focusing on? Whose behavior am I trying to change – mine or someone else’s? I become controlling when my actions are motivated by fear. If I fear what will happen in my absence and therefore do not take a trip or go to a show with my friends, I am trying to control. I have lost focus if I allow others to control me simply to win their favor. I am trying to control if I set up ultimatums and threats that I have no intention of following through on. In Nar-Anon, I have learned that the idea of controlling someone is an illusion.

So what are boundaries? Boundaries are healthy, personal limits I set for myself. It is important to set boundaries I can live with. When I set a boundary and do not keep it, I risk diminishing my self-esteem and lessening my credibility with others. Boundaries should be a reflection of healthy self-love. When I set my limits, I make a decision about what I will and will not accept. In this process, I decide ahead of time what my actions should be. Then when faced with a difficult situation, I already know how I want to behave. A personal boundary is for me only. Boundaries are healthy, loving limits I set for myself.

Thought for Today: I will set limits for myself because they are good for me and help me be the person I want to be.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the Wisdom to know it’s me.” ~ Anonymous