Not the smash Off-Broadway show.
It is how we frequently consider family members, employees and/or co-workers. We really like them. We might love them, even. It’s just that one tiiiiiiny little thing that needs to be fixed.
What can we live with? What personality defect or character flaw is past the line?
Is it all a fruitless search for perfection, or can we find a way to accept people AND give ourselves the space to walk away when necessary?
As a parent, it’s our job to mold and shape. We turn, over time, tiny humans into larger humans who can contribute to society and create a place for themselves, hopefully happily. There is no perfection, no perfect child. There is who we want them to be and who they are. The space in between is always the “rub” and sometimes the magic.
The same can be said for every person we meet, work with, report to and answer to. We can either get along with them, or we can’t. We can work with them, or we can’t (see Workplace Anxiety: Getting Along When You Don’t Get Along). It’s all a series of choices.
We can choose to overlook or accept someone’s foibles because the totality of what they offer is so much richer. It’s hard damn work, to be sure. Just ask my husband. People are a work in progress. We are, as Michelle Obama so poignantly writes, “becoming.”
Boundaries are a hard-learned skill. We aren’t born with an innate sense of what is right for us or what is acceptable to us in the world. We learn over time and with countless hurts, experiences and exposures where our limits are and how we believe the world should be.
We don’t have to demand perfection from people. We can require that they do the best that they are capable. We can honor the imperfect humanity of others while respecting it in ourselves. Boundaries aren’t necessarily lines in the sand. They’re evidence of wisdom and growth and courage. They’re proof of a life lived. The question you have to ask yourself when bumping against a boundary is “What comes next?”
LB Adams is the Founder of Practical Dramatics, headquartered in Charleston, SC. Her company offers soft skills training that is fun & engaging. To learn more about growing profitable conversations, reach out to us at 843-771-0753.