There are plenty of people out there who cringe at the word, myself included. It has been suggested that I read the book “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend for six years. I’ve neglected to pick up due to the title itself. Boundaries? No, thank you. I’m good.
As I define the word boundaries, I am in no need of education. I’ve got it under control, so I’d rather spend my time reading something of benefit to me at the moment, like our Lubbock Moms Book Club pick of the month, “The Girl Who Lived,” or something regarding strong-willed children.
After an incredible Moms in the Hub podcast session, an exciting guest and contributor suggested this book, yet again. Boundaries. I picked it up, and let me tell you, it rocked my world in more ways than one.
First, as expected, my definition of boundaries is incorrect.
Second, I definitely could have used these lessons, tools, and understanding in all relationships, starting in elementary school.
Finally, it strikes home with money.
Boundaries are essential for the financial guru that lives inside of you. Communication and boundaries are needed in any relationship to live as the steward we were truly meant to be.
I’ve never thought boundaries were selfish. I can remember back to my college years, where I first learned of the debt snowball. I knew if I wanted to give one day, I would have to sacrifice and follow these principles now. With that being understood, I told everyone that for Christmas, gifts would be no more than ten dollars and also not to be surprised if everyone got a gift card. Sounds a little harsh? Possibly, but with that focus, communication, and boundary, I was able to pay off student loans in two years. It isn’t selfish to make a plan and stick to it. Being true to ourselves makes for a happier, healthier individual.
This leads me to a completely different book, “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. In this feminist masterpiece, Glennon tells us that we can do hard things. Yes, we moms can do hard things, and the fact is that we have to. Glennon’s voice is alive well daily, asking me, “Every time you’re given a choice between disappointing someone else and disappointing yourself, your duty is to disappoint that someone else.” Including your finances. Are financial decisions being made on behalf of others? Are you cosigning for an adult child? Are you re-filling that lunch account twice a week? Are you saying no to end up saying yes? Boundaries are being crossed, and lessons learned. What financial lessons are we modeling for our children?
Henry Cloud states, “Guilt will keep you from doing what is right and will keep you stuck. Many people do not have good boundaries because they are afraid of disobeying the internal parent inside their heads.” Neighbors and friends are buying the biggest, bests gifts each year. Birthday parties are extravagantly planned and purchased on credit cards. The old saying “Keeping up with the Jones'” is part of our community and possibly foundational to our guilt regarding money.
I’ve recently had a great conversation with a dear friend about “keeping up.” She has set incredible boundaries to ensure that she makes the best decisions for her and her family, knowing that her weakness is being too close to “the scene.” It’s encouraging to be around like-minded people and watch good people make good decisions. I know that those around me are setting and keeping boundaries without guilt, and so I’m leaving the guilt to someone else.
As financial decisions are being made in the home, ask yourself, am I making this decision for my household or others’ best interest? Are there boundaries I need to work on? The first step to financial freedom, like everything else, is to analyze, question, and admit.
As you journey on, remember that you are not alone. The race to financial freedom is a marathon, not a sprint, and let me tell you from personal experience, it’s worth every small step.
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