Seeing The Void
Your life feels empty. Dull. Without substance of any kind. You wrecked relationships. Blew money on impulses. Made decisions you thought would make you happy. Everything falls apart when you touch it. Now, when you look at your life, you see the void. The Hebrew phrase tohu wa-bohu translates to “without form and void,” in the King James Version of the Bible (Gen. 1:2). Before God breathed life into the universe, this primal darkness made up the only distinct matter. Ancient Greek myths give us the concept of chaos that existed alongside the ordered world of Earth. Don’t dismiss these mythic stories as archaic nonsense. They contain truths that can help you to reconstruct your life. They present a way forward. A path beyond wrecked relationships, blown money, and wasted time.
Whether from Hebrew, Greek, or other religious tradition, creation myths showcase a crucial strategy for life. Creation myths show the formation of boundaries. They distinguish things as separate. They identify “this” from “that.” Like the solid land from the watery darkness. Creation myths depict a deity (or deities) taking action. They do something. They put something between themselves and the abyss. This may not do away with the cosmic chaos entirely. But it does provide a framework for building, planting, harvesting, and thriving. Anything you are going to create in life requires establishing boundaries.
Find What You Value
Before you can set healthy boundaries around a specific area of your life, you have to find what you value. Boundaries are a means, not an end by themselves. They are a tool for protecting what you value. So, to know where to erect them, first you must figure out what you value. Ask yourself: What do I value? What’s most important in life to me right now? Some ideas might include your health, both physical and mental. You might have some relationships that need mending. With parents, children, siblings, or friends. You might have a career you’re trying to repair. Once you’ve determined some things you value, then you may take steps toward protecting those things.
Define The Line
Once you’ve decided what you value, draw a line around them in your mind. As large or small as you like. Make it dynamic, you may find that some of your values might be removed. On the other hand, you might think of a few values you left out. Now, ask yourself what in your life preserves and protects these values. Does going to a certain place honor your values? Do you surround yourself with people who will respect your values? What habits or actions in your life threaten your values? You needn’t get this all right at once. Values can change over time. As a general rule, remember that it’s quite easy to make a large boundary smaller. It’s much more difficult to make a small one larger. If you can’t decide, always err on the side of making a boundary that’s too big.
Trust Your Judgment
Before you begin discussing your boundaries with others, trust yourself. Know why your values are what they are. Write down a series of statements about each value. Something like, “I value _________ because of ________, ________, and ________.” Or, “_________ is meaningful to me because _________.” Committing these statements to your mind will help you remain grounded in them. Some people in your life will question your new boundaries. Some people might even actively oppose them. You must trust yourself. Your boundaries are yours. You are a person. You have dignity and worth. Therefore, so do your boundaries. Trust your decisions about them. Remain firm and steadfast.
If Needed, Ask For Help
If you’re uncomfortable having discussions about your boundaries with people in your life, try discussing them in treatment. Tell your counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist that you’re ready to talk about boundaries. Tell them about the values you’ve discovered, why they’re important, and why they need protecting. Your therapist or counselor can help guide you through a conversation. If you need to, rehearse this a few times. Doing so will make you braver and more confident. Once you’re comfortable with that, you can reach out to your family and friends.
Discussing The Importance of Healthy Boundaries
Talking about new boundaries will feel awkward. You might feel pain, guilt, fear, or even regret. But you’re taking action. Just like the creation myths, you’re setting order amidst chaos. You’re taking part in an inherently divine act. It’s a weighty, significant thing you’re doing. But it won’t be easy. Different people in your life will have diverse reactions to your boundaries. Most will probably support them. If you don’t know where to begin, refer back to the statements you wrote about your values. Look the person in the eye, and say their name. Then tell them something like, “I value _________ because _________. So, I need __________ to stop.” If the person resists, remain grounded. Remind yourself that these decisions are yours. Trust your decisions. Kindly ask that the person respect these boundaries because doing so will help your recovery.
What If a Person Refuses to Respect the Importance of Healthy Boundaries?
Not everyone will respect your boundaries. Some of the people in your life may feel betrayed. They may take your desires for recovery as a personal offense. That’s ok. That’s a reflection of them and their problems. It’s not a reflection of you. Stick to your boundaries. No matter what. You mustn’t give in to browbeating, arguing, bribery, or gaslighting. If you need to, reiterate the boundary. Say, “No. I set this boundary for a reason. Here’s why.” And tell them why. After several conversations, if the person persists in disrespecting your boundary, you might want to rethink your relationship with that person. If they are committed to testing or violating your boundary, that relationship may have to end.
You Don’t Have To Accept Chaos
You deserve order, honor, dignity and respect in your life. Care enough for yourself to set some proper boundaries. Protect the things you value. Your recovery, and even your very life, depend on it. You don’t have to accept chaos. You can make something new. Contact us today to start your life in recovery from an addiction, so you can create healthy boundaries in your life.