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Crossing Your Own Boundaries

March 16, 2010

I was watching a movie the other day, OK, I might have been fast-forwarding through the movie and skipping to the good parts or actually to see whether their were any good parts. The movie was called Intervention and it followed the lives of a few people in rehab as well as the couple who ran the place. All very emotional stuff. It all ended in an actual blaze of fire. 

One of the scene I stopped to watch was when the women at the rehab center gathered around for the day with the female counterpart of the couple who ran the therapy sessions. The counsellor asked the women to do a variety of exercises. You know the type, look at yourself in the mirror and see the distorted perception you have of yourself and that kind of thing. Nothing especially groundbreaking. She even passed them some hand mirrors so they could look at their own vaginas. This is where it got interesting. 

While the women were gathered around in a circle, sitting on the ground with their legs spread, the counsellor asked them if any of them felt uncomfortable. She then went on to ask them if any of them had considered refusing to do the exercise. Light bulbs lit up over everyone’s head. Lightning struck, they all started chattering at once “you mean I didn’t have to do this”, “how come I suddenly feel violated”, “that’s not fair”, etc, etc.

The wise counsellor then went on to explain that it’s possible to violate your own boundaries. I find that a very interesting idea. I’m glad that I fast-forwarded through that movie and caught that particular scene, because it’s true, isn’t it? We violate our own boundaries all the time. Let’s not confuse pushing your own boundaries in an attempt to open yourself up to new experiences with the idea of violating yourself, one is not the other. I’m all for pushing or exploring your own boundaries and seeing where that goes. It’s always a little hit and miss, right? There’s no telling what will happen and that’s a good thing. Taking risks is more than alright, but when it doesn’t work out it’s normal to feel shame or guilt and that’s OK, because most people are equipped to deal with that. 

The problem arises when you’ve already explored a certain facet of yourself and you already know what your own boundaries are in regards to something and you still go ahead and violate them. I think it’s important to more conscious of that. To be more conscious of our own boundaries and how far we’re willing to go and to also be aware of when it’s important to not cross them. 

A lot of the time, we do more harm to ourselves than anyone else is capable of. I think everyone knows the feeling, that feeling in the pit of your stomach when something just doesn’t feel right, but for some reason we tend to not listen to ourselves very well. Some people listen to fear like it’s some instinctual force that’s pulling them in the right direction. It can be hard to tell the difference, but make no mistake when you’re feeling queazy about something it’s best to stop and listen. At least, for a second. 

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2010 1:18 pm

    Tis is really intersting, as I find myself pushing my own boundaries. I’m getting involved with someone who doesn’t necessarily have a primary, but he’s definitely involved with someone who feels their place in his life is paramount. THere’s supposedly no veto power, which is something I am strongly against. . .yet I’m still feeling the pressure of her dislike toward me.

    It’s putting things in true perspective. It’s a boundary I’m glad I crossed, so far, because it’s helping me realize that I’m not always as nice to my partner’s girlfriend as I should be.

  2. March 17, 2010 5:59 pm

    Haha, that’s a good lesson to learn. I don’t think I’d be secure enough to push that particular boundary.

  3. March 18, 2010 12:57 am

    Great article – it’s interesting for me to consider the distinction between pushing one’s boundaries in an explorative manner and violating them.

    In the past, I think I have violated my own boundaries by doing things I felt to be wrong but felt pressured into by external forces. Afterwards, the regret and the feeling of “I didn’t have to do this” has felt pretty crappy. It certainly pays for us to keep in touch with ourselves, to try and remain aware of how we’re feeling and to respect ourselves.

    Cool!

  4. March 21, 2010 7:19 pm

    It is an interesting distinction and not always super obvious. Sometimes I do things that I know will end up making me feel bad, but I do them anyways, because it’s what I want at the moment. That’s probably really common.

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