Thinking boundaries

I wasn’t aware of my thinking boundaries. I was just over on FB when a connection posed a question about God and Lucifer.

I’m qualified to respond, given my background and degree and I challenged both the question and the questioner. Back and forth the comments went, as they do on FB. I was reasoned and considered in my responses. But the other person wasn’t happy and, eventually, I said, “I’m done”. Nothing more could be gained by pursuing the discussion.

As I went to bed and mulled over the interchange I started to think, “What if I’d…?” That started my thinking down a well-worn path of assuming responsibility for the course of the discussion. I didn’t quite blame myself for the way the discussion panned out, but I was heading in that direction when I stopped myself.

I gave myself a mental shake.

I’d responded clearly, considerately and authentically. The other person’s dislike of my responses was not my fault or responsibility. Their emotional reaction was their responsibility. I wasn’t rude or unkind. I was true to myself and how I see the world. How the other person responded was their responsibility.

Questions about thinking

Why do we do that to ourselves?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Is taking responsibility for other people’s responses or reactions to us and our way of doing life a healthy thing to do?                                                                                  Why do we think that if we’d changed the way we’ve done something, or said something different, then they wouldn’t have been upset with us?

The reality is that we can only control our own responses and reactions. We can only control our own thought processes and emotions. We cannot control, and therefore we are not responsible for, the responses of other people to ourselves. Understanding this is part of the subtle art of self-leadership.

As we understand more fully that we are only responsible for our own thought processes and responses then we can stand more firmly in the truth of who we are as unique human beings. This authenticity and integrity allow us then to set clearer and firmer boundaries, first and foremost in our own thinking and, consequently, in our behaviour and attitudes to others. It is important that we set boundaries in our thinking before we can set boundaries around behaviour.

Boundaries in thinking

We put boundaries in our thought processes in place:

1. so that we don’t default to unhealthy patterns of thinking                                                                                                                                                                                            2. to limit the influence other people’s attitudes and opinions have over how we think                                                                                                                                            3. to set us on more authentic thought paths that are in line with our values.

Let’s do away, bit by bit, with the notion that we are at fault and that we must fix things.Sometimes the best, most healthy, thing we can do is walk away – for ourselves, for others, and for the situation.

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