Legal Articles

Protecting Boundaries

Within nations and in international affairs, we hear of terms like sovereignty, invasion and domination amongst others. We experience the same in our personal lives too, though it doesn’t make headlines. But that doesn’t mean it is not important. Between countries the boundaries are sacrosanct and their line of control protected with utmost care and valor. But what happens when others trespass our personal boundaries? How do we oppose that? Some of us are very vocal, so we defend ourselves and our personal lives and boundaries almost ferociously. Some of us aren’t. Does that mean the polite need to be outspoken in order to guard themselves. Sometimes I feel the values and manners taught to us by our teachers and parents like politeness are a bit outdated these days. Although sadly, that shouldn’t be the case.

Countries have fought many battles over the centuries for life, liberty and freedom. What about respecting the life and liberty of the people around you. The moment you start to tell others how they should live their life you are trespassing their boundary. I wonder what gives you the right. People who are advising others on what to do, seem to have a superfluous superiority complex that gives them the illusion that they can afford to preach. We all need a mirror in front of us that shows us our flaws. We should be so busy in rectifying our own flaws that we have no time to look for flaws in others. The principle of this theory resonates with me. Let Him Who Is Without Sin Cast the First Stone or people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. But what is annoying is that people who are correcting others, are themselves far from perfection.

One of the joys of being human is that we don’t have to be perfect. At some point we’ll all make stupid decisions, hurt the people we love, say things that are hard to take back, and push too hard to get our way. We mess things up, we grow and we learn. But that doesn’t give others the right to dominate you.

We need to protect our boundaries. In order to do so, there are some people we need to be wary of. First and foremost are the control freaks. Nobody should have to ask for permission or be heavily directed on what to wear, how to look, who to spend time with or how to spend their money.  Your mind is strong and beautiful and shouldn’t be caged. Healthy relationships support independent thought. They don’t crush it. Every time you say ‘yes’ to someone who doesn’t deserve you, you’re saying ‘no’ to someone who does. Give your energy to the people who deserve it.

Then we have the users, who will only call and remember you when they have some work with you. There are some phone numbers when they flash on my mobile, a “oh no’ comes out of my mouth, because I know it’s because of some work they have with me, else they won’t spend a buck on making a call. We need to learn to say no. There is no need to impress the users. You’ll never be good enough for these people because it’s not about you, but about them. It’s about control and insecurity – theirs, not yours.

Being open to the world is a great thing to be – it’s wonderful – but when you’re open to the world you’re also open to all kinds of people in it.  One of the things that makes a difference is the people you hold close. Whether it’s one, two or a battalion, let the people around you be ones who are worthy of you. Good people are what great lives are made of.

The need to control others may not make a lot of sense to you. If you’re a live-and-let-live person, you’d never want to control someone else. Even if you’re a perfectionist, you stay on your own case all day, not necessarily someone else’s. But controllers are out there. They want to micromanage what you say, how you act, even what you think quietly in your own mind. They want to exercise undue influence over your life. They have no respect for you or your boundaries. When your boundaries are crossed, you must respond. Just as border guards don’t stand by and watch while people stroll across the border, don’t stand back and do nothing when a boundary of yours is crossed, or passively fume, “They should know better!”

As lawyers, we are always advising our clients how to protect their boundaries and not let other trespass. We caution our clients to safeguard their boundaries rather than repent later with huge losses and expensive and lengthy law suits.

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