Sunday, October 14, 2012


Boundaries.  When to set them, when to run right through them.  

Are boundaries always good?  Always bad?  As we know, anything taken to an extreme can be bad, with the exception of sex and mashed potatoes with really delicious gravy. What? Too much mashed potatoes with gravy is bad for you? Oh. Well to be honest, I thought I wasn't much of a boundaries person. 

In my current metamorphosis,  I like to think of myself as flexible and creative and this doesn't quite fit with my idea of boundaries.  Without realizing it, I had been thinking of boundaries as negative things, always confining and limiting.  I know now that  this isn't the case at all.  In my previous life, I spent a lot of wasted time feeling guilty, wondering if people liked me, and trying to live up to other people's ideas of what my life should be. Saying no to anything, made me feel like I was a bad person. Setting personal boundaries wasn't very high on my to-do list.

I've been thinking about boundaries lately, and realizing how important they are in all areas of my life.  I have also realized that surprisingly, I do know how to set boundaries, but I probably need to be more intentional and thoughtful about it.  Recently, I've realized that setting appropriate boundaries professionally doesn't just cut down on stress and anxiety for me, it's also the right thing to do for the organization.  The work gets done most effectively if the right person is doing the right job.  

Without realizing it, I sometimes take on tasks that aren't really my responsibility because I feel a compulsion to be nice.  News flash:   I can set boundaries and be a nice person at the same time; they aren't mutually exclusive. And as a bonus, if I'm not spending time working on a myriad of extraneous tasks, I will actually get MY work done in a more timely and efficient manner.  Go, Robin, go! On a related note, are those people who are foisting off their tasks on me being nice?  No, they most certainly are not. Stop that, people. You know who you are.

Boundaries in my personal life are more difficult to tackle.  I have such a difficult time setting boundaries that sometimes I can't even implement them in regards to a person who is having a negative impact on my life.  I'm working on that.  I'm trying to get my head around the fact that people grow in different directions and just because I was close with someone at a certain stage in my life, doesn't mean I am obligated to interact with them at the same sustained level for ever and ever.  This is usually when that big truck load of guilt comes into play, but I'm doing my best to work through it.  

We all have a right to set boundaries and for the most part, we don't even need to justify them.  There are some exceptions, and these are mostly related to a marked and significant change in boundaries and primarily apply only to those in your inner circle.  Being in the inner circle signifies an agreement and expectations of some sort.  For instance, if I decide tomorrow that I am quitting my job and becoming a vegan, that is certainly my right as a person, but I owe it to my delightful husband to talk with him about it and come up with a compromise. Or maybe I owe it to him to win the lottery first. See what I mean?  It's confusing. Don't worry, Don, I'm not planning on becoming a vegan.  For one thing, your beef bourguignon is just too delicious and I can smell it simmering as I type this post. 

If I can decide upon reasonable, well-thought-out boundaries and manage to articulate them to those around me, I'm making it easier for all of us. Expectations have been set and if they are not met, we have a platform on which to base our negotiations and conversations.

Conversely, I need to work on breaking down and removing boundaries in the creative realms of my life. Fear is not a contributor to the creative process.  It hampers and directly interferes with my writing and artwork. I need to learn to create without limits, at least for the first draft or sketch. Editing is something different, and may involve boundaries, but the process of creating should not.  How do we, as writers or artists, remove these boundaries when we aren't even aware of them much of the time?  Or when they are firmly rooted in our psyche, relics of past ridicule or insecurities that we have buried deeply in order to cope?  I don't know, but I intend to find out, my friends. If you know me, you know that I'm not in the habit of doing things half-way.  I love my creative endeavors, but I've come to realize that in some ways, I've been inching down a steep hill with the brakes on.  I want the complete experience - wind in the face, feet off the pedals, and hair flying behind me. Let me know what you think.  I'm interested!  

All of the gorgeous artwork in this post is compliments of the talented Catrin Walz-Stein. Visit her website and show her some love!


  1. Hi, I'm stopping by to belatedly thank you for following my blog (Beyond The Hourglass Bridge). You have such a wealth of beautiful art and interesting content here, so I also want to nominate you for a blog award! Details on my blog today! :)

  2. Robin,

    Nice to meet you through the Haunted Writing Clinic. Love your art work.

    And boundaries, important. Saying no, so difficult. Good luck with your writing goals!

  3. Katherine: Thanks for the warm welcome. I'm excited & flattered! I'm headed over to check it out. Thank you so much! :)

    Yolanda: I really appreciate the compliment on my artwork. Thank you! It's lovely to meet you as well. Are you by any chance planning on trying NaNoWriMo this year?

  4. I'm so happy we found each other. I'm not really sure how we connected but I feel like we are on similar paths...artist, writer, person-stuff. I write a lot about boundaries too and this really resonated with me. It also inspired a direction for the painting that I had "no idea where it is going"! Once it is done, I'll link back here.

  5. Oh all that stuff was me! Sheila from Watching the Paint Dry.

  6. I'm glad my ramblings make sense to someone. I think we have a lot in common and I'm really glad we found each other, too. We can inspire and encourage each other! I'm glad you found a direction with your painting. I'm staring at one in my studio right now trying to decide if it's done or not. I'm going to post it on my FB page and see what you think! :)


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