I have been really working on establishing boundaries the last couple of years regarding people who want all of the things from us but are MIA when we need something. Some people are family, some are friends and others are just online acquaintances who think they are owed time because they want it.
The tricky part is staying true to who we are as people while protecting our peace. Snake and I tend to be givers. We try hard to be there for people in our lives.
Boundaries can seem so cold. We know the person wants to talk or get together or borrow money or whatever. Yes, they may even need it. The problem comes when the scale is never even close to balanced. What if we need those things? So often they are just “too busy.”
I totally understand not having the bandwidth to help. Truly. BUT. That same understanding needs to go both ways if the relationship is to grow and thrive. Getting upset that we can’t do something at a particular time has to be received with the same understanding that we try to give.
So, how do we balance our natural impulses to help and give whether it’s right for us or not? Good question. We are getting better at it, but have lost some people along the way. They couldn’t accept any boundaries.
The best thing we can do is try to live within our resources. That includes having time to do what we want/need to do and some of that just has to be time to just be. Having busy lives means that we have time when we just don’t want to go out or talk. That doesn’t mean that we don’t care–it just means that we need to fill the reservoir back up so we can give again.
For us, we try to do the things that are truly important to our ‘core’ selves. Our relationship has to come first because it feeds the rest of our relationships. Then family and friends and work have to get their slice of time. What’s left is what is left. That’s all there is.
And if we give to people who don’t reciprocate? We know that we have done what we think is right. At the end of the day, that’s all we can do.
Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.Harold S. Kushner