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When Out of Bounds Gets Out of Hand



Upon further review…the receiver’s foot was out of bounds; therefore, the pass is incomplete! I don’t know, I think that referee is blind. Sometimes those boundaries can get you. And with the benefit of slow motion replay it’s often easy to see when someone is either in, or out of bounds. Was the ball fair or foul? Hard to tell, just over the corner of the bag, it’s the umpire’s discretion…and foul!

It would be nice in life and relationships if we had clear boundaries like they do in sports. It’s either in or out, fair or foul, complete or incomplete, usually it’s black or white (not always), but at least it’s right there in front of you, and typically difficult to dispute.

Relationship boundaries can be much more difficult to see. Have you ever felt like a boss, co-worker, or neighbor has taken advantage of you? Perhaps you’ve been asked to work extra hours to cover for someone else and, being a kind person, you said yes. Or what about that neighbor who keeps over-staying their welcome? You just want to go to bed, and they keep eating your food and talking. Can’t they take a hint? Why can’t we say “no” when we know we should?

So, by now you may know I’ve been reading a book about boundaries. I have enjoyed thinking about life from this new-to-me perspective. When you begin to think about your personal boundaries, it can provide a new perspective and insight on how to respect yourself, and others. Some of us may need to learn that healthy skill of protecting ourselves, and saying no.

Toddlers have no trouble saying no, so why do we? Do we fear rejection? Do we want to be liked? Are we just being nice? Probably the answers are yes, yes, and yes. Friends, we need to be kind to ourselves, and we need to figure out how to establish healthy boundaries.

If you’re tired of being steamrolled, consider your boundaries. Unfortunately, some people can be aggressive and manipulative. Not only are they on the line, they are “two feet way out of bounds” over the line. This fall, as football season kicks off, perhaps we all need to buy a whistle and begin using it. Just say no, blow the whistle, and watch closely to see if they had both feet inbounds, or were they over the line?

“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.” - Brené Brown.

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