top of page
  • Writer's pictureCarmen Hernandez

We Give Too Much

Updated: Mar 20, 2020

I believe people generally give outsiders too much power over themselves. We give strangers the power to incite positive or negative emotions from within us. We give them the power to make us question ourselves - our potential, our abilities, our sense of self, our worth, etc. We give them the power to change our perspectives, goals, and thought processes for better or worse. As a whole, people give people outside of themselves way too much agency over themselves.


When you google personal boundaries, you’ll be directed to very many definitions that may apply to you more than this, but to me, the best definition is as follows: Personal Boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. As a people, us human beings create social limits to all interactions and relationships we encounter. These are unspoken boundaries that are set in place for us by society from the get go; i.e. you can say hello to a stranger and smile from a respectable distance, but if you touch them they may recoil and become offended by your unwarranted intrusion of their personal space. This line you cross could be firmly rooted in the idea that you do not respect the social norms by which we live, and therefore one could deduce that you do not respect that person either. It is written in clear ink everywhere we go; you must dress appropriately for any situation, lest you give off the aura that you do not respect the space which you have entered. You must hold the door open for the next person, or else you run the risk of being seen as rude. You must ask others how they are doing, even if you do not listen or expect a real answer, lest you be impolite.


We have unwritten social expectations for every situation and every space that we must adhere to, and we are expected to generate our own personal list to add on as well. You hear it everywhere, “you have to show people how you want to be treated.” And it’s true! Although we have a long running list of unwritten societal expectations that we must adhere to - not everyone knows/acknowledges/follows them - and it is then our job, to make them follow them when it comes to us. And if we drop the ball - allow others to cross a boundary - we pay the price and we are completely and solely at fault for the outcome that befalls us.


I am one of those people that has vivid dreams, and my anxiety about whatever is going on in my life always comes out in said dreams. I woke up several mornings last month feeling very stressed and anxious because I remembered horrible dreams I had the night before. As the following day progressed, my memory of the dreams had dramatically decreased so I have lost a lot of details and specifics, but I can remember the general plot behind them. For the purpose of this post I will only focus on two of the very many dreams I’ve recently dreamt. Summed up, both dreams were anxiety or stress inducing because I spent my time focusing on other people outside of me and how I could help them get out of their problems. I took on their problems as if they were mine, and proceeded to stress about how I was going to fix them each time. Afterwards, I remember feeling stressed and extremely worried when I awoke. The problem was that I had run out of time and did not fix the final person’s issues before I woke up. After acclimating to reality and realizing that it was just a dream about non-existent people, I breathed a sigh of relief and went about my day, but the feelings I felt while dreaming stayed with me. The memory of those feelings caused me to analyze why I was even having such dreams in the first place, and of course, I was able to acknowledge and admit that it’s because in real life I take on others problems as mine all the time.


I open myself up for everyone to have access to me - everyone I let in, that is. And I become a free for all. I do not set clear boundaries; because of this, I have made the mistake of allowing others to cross lines with me that I am not okay with. Then, because I mess up in allowing this line to be crossed, I go through this process of being stressed/being inconvenienced then getting mad and finally bursting/blowing up. And in the end, it’s no one else’s fault but mine alone, when I can no longer be emotionally/financially/physically supportive of the other person. I set the precedence for how our relationship would work, I allowed the other to take and take without giving back - sometimes without their own knowledge of the dynamic between us - and when I cannot do it any longer, they are left in the dark wondering why I suddenly stopped helping/listening/caring for them.


Recently though, I had an eye-opening conversation with a friend that put things into perspective for me regarding my lack of concrete boundaries - he made me realize that every relationship is supposed to be an equal one. Relationships are a give and take, and those of us who only know to give without learning to receive only serve to hinder the other in their path towards growth. Boundaries are placed for the good of both parties; one party gains the peace of mind that comes with having their own space unobstructed, and the other gains the knowledge of self-restraint/independence/awareness of others.


When we give outsiders power over ourselves in any way/shape/form, we obstruct their path towards adulthood and growth, while simultaneously hindering our path towards the pursuit of happiness. Because in the end, that is all we want, our own clear and unobstructed path to pursue what makes us happy and brings us peace.


Thank you,

Carmen Hernandez

55 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page