If I think of when we cross our boundaries, I can imagine several situations and reasons why we sometimes “slip” and also several ways to avoid violations of our good intentions. To me, our willingness to violate the boundaries varies with age, experience and perhaps an effort to eliminate unnecessary stress in life. When was the last time you did something you later regretted? What made you cross the line? What were the consequences? According to me we frequently violate our principles when we get angry, sad, frustrated … so after prolonged period of stress or under the influence of emotionally charged situations. Our decisions can then be abbreviated. We can verbally attack someone, go to the bar to get drunk and overdo it or cheat a partner with whom we do not see a future and we desire the relationship to end. Crossing borders, however, may have other causes. For example, at the moment we have shifted the perception by the influence of alcohol / drugs or other substances, we are frivolous, we may be influenced by our friends, who consider such behavior as normal, we may be enticed to try something new or prohibited, feel the excitement and adrenalin. Part of all border crossings is adrenaline, but in addition it also brings a lot of trouble. Let me give you two examples. Alcohol – we go to the bar and spend a fun night out with friends, we dance, we meet an attractive person. The second day we have a terrible hangover, but we remember a nice party full of adventure and fun. Next time we expect the same thing. Thus, we go back to the bar, overdo it, do not have too much fun, spend too much money and the next day we feel terribly. We think it was not worth it. And so it flips until we realize that the negative experience outweighs or we find an attractive alternative that meets our needs better. Sometimes this might be accelerated, when while being drunk we do something that is sufficiently shameful, when we injure ourselves, when we have health problems or another strong motivation. I know some people who have stopped drinking hard liquor after spending a night on intensive care with blood poisoning, after infidelity while being drunk or they danced naked on the table in front of a bunch of lawyers. Everyone has different limits and everyone enjoys the state of intoxication differently, someone is not interested in drinking at all, someone drinks often, but does not exceed their limits and to someone alcohol can cause big problems. I will not speak about alcohol dependence, border crossing while being addicted is a totally different issue. Infidelity – here it is similar, the first time you may find it exciting, you may be ashamed or just don’t think about the consequences, and if you get away with it, you may think that nothing had happened. But the opposite is true. Something happened, even if your partner would never know. Infidelity mostly affects you. Maybe after the first infidelity you’ll begin to think that you got away with it and you’ll try again. You may be frustrated with yourself, maybe you start to feel sorry for your partner who does not know, you may need to lie and disrupt the trust between you two, maybe the relationship that you did not take too seriously in the beginning, becomes a long term relationship and your partner will find out someday, maybe the one with whom you cheated with, will demand things to be resolved and mess with your partner. Life is unpredictable. What we can do in order not to cross our own limits too often?
- Where’s my border? Remember where you have your limit … Do not take the boundaries of others, do not care what is right according to your neighbors or society. What is important is how you feel when you do the thing. If you like to be kinky, eccentric or unfaithful and you are not ashamed of it, it’s your decision. If you try to do what others want for you, but you do not agree with it, you’ll probably cross the border frequently. During tense moments or in situations where your controls weaken, you will show your true self. Prefer to accept your real self than adapt. The more honest you are, the more likely you will be happy.
- What I get from it? Think about the reasons for crossing borders. Let’s say that you are getting drunk or cheat on your partner. Why are you doing this? What are you compensating? Do you feel that you are not attractive to others? Do you crave for the attention of men/women and their admiration? Are you trying to see what you can get away with? If you find out what you are missing, maybe you can think of another way to fill this need without the stress and guilt. You can get attention needs satisfied by successful professional career, playing in a band; you can talk to your partner about your needs or find another one; you can get excitement from travelling or extreme sports.
- Is it worth it? Think about the implications, if you breach the border. And do it even before the tempting situation arise. If you go to a party with intention to switch off, especially if you start throw shots into yourself while passing the welcome door, it is more likely that you will “slip”. If you go to a party with intention to have fun, drink decently and talk with interesting people, it is less likely that you will start off with a double tequila. Likewise, if you decide to cheat your partner. Think calmly, what positives and negatives it can bring to you if you pass that border? Would it be tragic if he/she finds out or you would not care so much? Are you able to accept that after the cheating, the trust between you and your partner might be disturbed for the rest of the relationship?
- What you do not want to admit to yourself? If you have trouble crossing the border in certain situations or in certain challenging times, it is necessary to solve the core problem, not just your actions. Let’s say you have a problem to deal with breakups, after you quickly plunge into new relationships, which quickly ends and you then feel abused and you regret it. Alternatively, after the break up you drink more alcohol and behave promiscuously. Better than deal with why I went to a party and found a partner for one night stand and how to prevent it next time, you should realize that after the relationship you have a greater need to prove that you are still desirable to the opposite / same sex and this behavior is not functional. It brings only short-term gains, while long-term losses. You can then replace the one-night stands with getting to know new people in another way – to sign up on dating services, tango or discharge the frustration in a gym.
- Make a plan for crisis situations. Example – you have a team building party. You do not want it to end at ten o’clock by vomiting on your director’s footwear or having sex with the receptionist which is smiling so nice every morning. Plan ahead. If you are at an event where there is plenty of alcohol, eat, do not drink hard liquor, mix wine with water. Alternatively, if you know you have a problem to stop drinking alcohol when you begin, do not drink at all. Sometimes it is easier to admit that some things are better avoided altogether, than being constantly exposed to dangerous situations.