Emotional Boundaries: The best kind of boundaries.
To first know is then the first step.
Emotional boundaries can be compared to budgeting our money. In a budget we spend our money on bills and some money for fun and give some for charity and keep some money as savings and the budget starts over again and again every pay period. So too emotional boundaries means controlling our own emotions every day in such a way as to letting out a lot of emotions at some times and holding back the emotions at other times, or else showing partial emotions or withholding part of our emotions, and that is why it is called an “emotional boundary” but the boundaries must be flexible and not rigid. A hard boundary can not be crossed so a hard boundary is called a “WALL”, as a wall is very hard or even impossible to cross or to get through. In some cases we have to put up rigid walls with some other people or things, but that is never ever the ideal because we all need to be able to effectively deal with any person under any circumstance and walls do not deal. A healthy boundary needs to be like a door, in that the door can open up wide or else be shut down tight, or open the door just enough to peek out or to speak out, but if the door is locked up with no opening then that door as a boundary becomes another type wall.
Our emotions simply must be self governed, just as some times we can let loose and have fun and joy while other times we must be strict and reserved and stone stoic. As in there are times to be afraid and to show our fear, while other times we must over-rule our emotional fear and have some courage. What this means is that we must not let our emotions have the control over our self. A person who can not control their own emotions is a person who is thereby out-of-control.
There is a real distinction between feelings and emotions, in that feelings come into a person while it is the emotions which come out of a person. Feelings come in and emotions go out. Any person can have the feeling of anger but we do not have to express the emotion of anger. Instead of getting angry (the emotion) even when we feel anger we can do some thing constructive like address the cause of our anger in a wise way. We feel things like anger or fear or guilt or lonely or shame or pain or hurt feelings or even feel joy, but then we do not have to express outwardly the corresponding emotion for the feeling. Some times yes we can, and some times no we do not, and that flexibility is what we call emotional boundaries where our feelings do not control our emotions, nor our emotional reactions. If we do not control our own emotions, then our emotions will control us and that is not a healthy way to live.
Feelings come into the body while emotions go out of the body. If some one threatens us then we feel fear as the threat is coming from outside into us – thereby we feel it – feelings come in, or some one exposes us and we feel shame as it is being put into us so we feel the shame thrown at us – feelings are things coming into us, so if we get upset or embarrassed or angry then that is going out from us – emotions go out, or we start crying – the emotions going outward. The feelings come in while the emotions go out.
The word “emotion” comes from the root word “motion” as in e-motion, and the “e” can means things like energized motion, electrified motion, excited motion, because e-motions are what comes out of the person. We have feelings which come in, and express emotions which go outward.
To have healthy emotional boundaries then we must be able to deal with any person or any circumstance or any thing, and that is the ideal but it is a bit hard to do that completely. In some cases the correct way to deal with an abuser is to actively help get them put into jail, but that can be a hard thing to do especially when our feelings and emotions interfere with doing what we need to do. In some cases we must pick up a club or a gun and factually stop a violent abuser, and that is an extreme case but it can happen and does happen, so we must be able to over-rule our feelings and do what needs to be done in any case. When we go to a family event and certain people make us to feel really upset then either we can walk away or throw a fit or we can deal with the circumstance in a better way, and that better way comes under this category of emotional boundaries. We may have to feel whatever we feel, but we do not have to express emotions which are counter productive or harmful.
Love is an emotion. People like to call love as a feeling because we can feel the love from others, but our own love is an expression of our better emotions. Healthy people view love as a decision, and that is when we control our emotions then we get to be loving and to express love because we want to do that, and not just because we feel the love.