Out of Bounds

4 Nov

Sometimes in our relationships with others, we discuss or share things that are personal. We tell them very private thoughts about certain areas of our lives, or talk about our hopes and dreams with them. When we do, unless we say it’s okay to share our comments, we may expect them to keep them to themselves. But sometimes, those close to us tell others what we’ve said and it makes us uncomfortable. If it’s something very private, it may hurt us that they told someone else. If we share something confidential and ask that it not be repeated, and then discover others have been told, it’s a very personal betrayal. It can be embarrassing and painful to learn that our private thoughts have been tossed around. Those who betray our trust sometimes think telling others is okay, but if we’ve asked them to keep it private, their thoughts mean little.  It’s appropriate to trust a boundary with a friend. If that trust isn’t honored, it can be very hurtful.

There are some people who have no filters. They repeat everything they hear to everyone they know. They don’t believe there should be any walls around information, and they often don’t care what others think. They may give their word to protect what they’ve heard, but then are unable to keep it. When we have someone like that close to us, it can be devastating to discover our inner most thoughts and feelings have been broadcast. We can feel humiliated and exposed. Everyone has the right to make any decision they like, but if those decisions hurt us, we need to evaluate our relationship with them. If they can’t be trusted to keep our confidence, we must protect it.

Some people don’t believe it makes any difference if everyone knows our private thoughts, and if we cherish our privacy and hold it dear, we need to protect ourselves from sharing with them. If they are someone close to us, and we love them, that can be difficult. We may forget their inability to hold our comments to themselves and in times of distress, open up to them. Boundaries are important and we are the only ones who can protect our own. If we share and are betrayed, it hurts. We must define who can and who can’t be trusted with our private thoughts. Once we understand who they are, and accept that even those who love us may not be trustworthy with our boundaries, we can make wiser decisions. Protecting our privacy is our responsibility. We can define our boundaries any way we choose, and we can do whatever is needed to protect them.

Today if you’ve been exposed in ways that have hurt you, and if your boundaries have been betrayed, you can protect yourself going forward. You can have close relationships with others who don’t understand your boundaries and still ensure your privacy by guarding what you share. Understand the limits of the people close to you, and you will be comfortable going forward. Your boundaries are sacred and should be honored. You are entitled to them, and you may protect them.

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