Boundaries Or Brick Walls?

Growing up in a large family, one thing was made clear to me early on. If I wanted space, I had to be creative and make it for myself. Not in the sense that I wasn’t welcome. I have the most welcoming family on the planet. But in the sense that my identity could not be based on another person’s perception of who I am.

It’s an uphill battle sometimes. I meet new people and must deal with the same assumptions all over again. Jamie is a "quiet" person. That is a common first impression.

I am not a quiet person. I have cultivated an inner stillness, but that is not the same as quiet. I learned quite early on in life, after a few short years in elementary school, that the words I say have an effect on people. The words I say have consequences. And that not all people are safe.

I “come out of my shell” when I know and trust people well. I seek to encourage an environment of trust around me. I want to be trustworthy, too.

When I have been around people long enough to sense that safety, I can and will be vocal. If someone I love is threatened I can be quite vocal. If a situation calls for merriment, I will be unashamedly loud.

I believe in living out loud. I know in some ways I become so self-protective that I am choosing to live small. There are some times I do let myself be silenced. Usually I am tired or I see a futility in reasoning with unreasonable, or I have not yet formed an opinion and don’t want to take a side. But other times, I am afraid, of hurting or being hurt.

I want to move past this sometimes fear. I believe in living out loud. That means when I see injustice I will speak. I will not pretend to be meek when a holy anger rises in my chest. I’ll take a risk in hopes of putting things right. Even though I know it won't make me popular. But the authenticity is worth it.

So my challenge is figuring this out: What are the boundaries that need to remain in order to keep my loved ones and integrity safe? And what are the brick walls I’ve built that need to come down, in order for me to love well and live authentically?

How do you distinguish? Please share your thoughts on this.


I am taking The Authenticity Challenge hosted by Marvia Davidson. Today is my authenticity declaration. For more info, get in touch with Marvia via twitter and go here to visit her blog.

Jamie Bagley