This week the #MeToo movement has merged with the #NoMore movement and the conversation continues with what we will no longer tolerate. Interestingly enough, I have been putting myself through a ‘reboot’ of inventorying who I am, what I stand for, what I want and what I will and won’t tolerate.
Essentially this is exactly what #NoMore means. In order for us to claim #NoMore then we need to be specific and certain about what our boundaries are and what we are willing to tolerate, why we will tolerate certain actions or situations and what we will no longer let slip by.
How appropriate that this comes in the midst of the Lent season when Jesus not only spreads love for all but also makes it clear what is and is not the way of a Christ follower. Did you know one of the most common sayings of Jesus was ‘Do not fear?”
Setting boundaries and recognizing tolerances we need to stop tolerating can be frightening. If we have lived decades without solid boundaries set then setting even the smallest can seem foreign.
Sometimes it is easy to first start out with the simple daily aspects of life. For example, I will no longer tolerate my son leaving his clothes in a heap on his floor, or I will no longer tolerate dishes sitting in the sink. These are easily rectified with setting boundaries.
- My son’s clothes have to be put away or a privilege will be taken away.
- Every person is in charge of their own dishes during the day, loading them into the dishwasher.
Of course not every tolerance can be rectified with a boundary. For instance, I am tolerating my home being in a disarray from the flood and having to live upstairs but there is nothing I can do about it. What I can do is no longer tolerate my own attitude about the situation. I can set a boundary that I will only focus on what has been accomplished and finished and not dwell on the amount of time it is taking.
Some great solid, strong personal #MeToo / #NoMore boundaries could be:
- No one will shout at me.
- No one will ever demean me.
- No one will criticize me for anything any more.
- No one will abuse me ever again in any way.
You can protect yourself and at the same time make it a learning experience for the other person. Setting boundaries doesn’t mean attacking. Boundaries can be set lovingly and firmly. This is an example:
“ Sam, I don’t like being yelled at. I want to hear what you have to say.
Would you please lower your tone?”
“ Cathy, I have five minutes to talk with you. Will that work for you, or
do you want to call me at another time?”
“I am unable to be with you when you are angry. I love you and want to spend
time with you, but I need to leave the room now. I am willing to talk about this
when you aren’t upset.”
Sometimes the person is so into their own stuff that they cannot hear you and won’t respect your boundaries at all. In this case, you must state your boundaries in a strong and direct manner. Be firm.
“Steve, that’s it! You cannot yell at me ever again. Got it?”
“That feels mean – stop it right now!”
When we are determined to say #NoMore we are embracing our strength and power again and there is no need to fear what others will or can do against you.
In the time I began working on this blog my husband suffered a sudden emergency where his lower intestine had been twisted and he was sent into surgery. Out of no where our lives can be jolted by yet another event that can throw you off track. Now that we are at the end of this 48 hours of chaos I see how important pre-setting these new boundaries was for me to be an advocate for Neal.
We had a few issues with the communication and care given once Neal was out of surgery and normally we would’ve kept quiet, not wanting to ruffle any feathers but instead I saw my husband slowly slipping into a possible case of reoccurrence or worse, sepsis and I was not going to allow that to happen just because I was afraid of confrontation. The boundary was the knowing we deserve proper care and the communication was letting them know, politely, that we were not tolerating what was happening (or rather, not happening).
What are your list of tolerances? Which ones can you set a boundary to and eventually eradicate from your life? What are some good, solid boundaries you can name?
(A portion of this information, list of strong boundaries and examples comes from an article written by Pamela Grant)