Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Of Setting Personal Boundaries
So lately, Tom picked up a bad habit. I call it the 'We Need To' habit."
I mean, we'll be driving along country roads or else walking up people's driveways to their yard sales and he'll look at all the lovely landscaping and that's when it starts:
"We need to plant more trees on our farm."
"We need to make a brick patio."
"We need to spread mulch on all our flowerbeds."
"We need to put up some picket fencing, plant some brighter flowers, make a flower bed around our mailbox post, clear the weeds around the septic well and prune our grapevines and our meadow trees."
The problem? His "we" means me. Debra. Those are the tasks I've volunteered to do around this farm. Tom's tasks are to mow certain parts of the yard on his tractor and organize the garage and barn.
So anyway, I noticed how tight my stomach would feel after a few hundred We Need To's. And how often those We Need To's led to my telling Tom, "I know, I know already! I've got to get my gardens in first, ok? I keep telling you that." (Add to that additional whining.)
And then finally one day I put up a necessary, mind-saving boundary.
After driving alongside Tom and listening to more We Need To's, I told him, "Look. I need you to stop with the We Need To's because your 'we' means 'me'! You realize that, don't you? All the things you're suggesting are things for which I'm responsible. And I'm feeling so pressured to do more, more, more, that I can't even look around our yard and enjoy it any longer. I just look and see all the extra things you wish I would do."
He got the point. Thankfully, I can't recall hearing one We Need To since then. Boundaries. They're vital. We all need to set them if we wish to keep our sanity.
And I hope you've already put up a few boundaries of your own--without feeling guilty about them, either.