Express Your Inner Madea (or how to set boundaries and protect your dream)

“You Best Check Yo’self!”

This is my favorite scene from Madea Goes to Jail. It’s only moderately tied to the topic of setting boundaries, but it will make you laugh your ass off, so take about 3 minutes and enjoy.

There’s an inner Madea in all of us. It’s the old black woman who’s not gonna take any bullshit from anyone.

You need to express your inner Madea when it comes to protecting your dreams.  There are Dream Snatchers that pose as your friends, family and even strangers. They will stomp all over your dreams.

It is your responsibility to protect and nurture your dreams until they’re firmly rooted.

Fear Leads People to Violate Boundaries

It is often those who love you that are most quick to violate your boundaries.
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Fear is the primary motivators behind the Dream Snatchers in our lives.

They are afraid of losing their own sense of stability or certainty if you change.

They fear losing their influence with you.  This is especially true of parents, ministers and teachers.

They fear losing themselves. This often happens in a romantic relationship. When your spouse or partner realizes that you’re changing, it challenges them to change as well.  That can be fearful.

They fear how they will look or how others may judge them.

As you can see, all of these fears have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.

How Fear Manifests

Your Dream Snatchers may express fear in a variety of ways, but it is always fear underneath it all.

  • Anger
  • Resentment
  • Hostility (outright or passive)
  • Concern and worry
  • Manipulation
  • Withdrawal

There are many ways that fear may be expressed. The key for you is to resist reacting to the manifestation of the fear. Instead, recognize the root of it–fear.

If you respond to the fear instead of reacting to how it shows up, you empower yourself to set boundaries in a healthy way.

Respond to the underlying fear instead of reacting to the drama.
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Setting Boundaries is an Act of Love

Love is the only real response to fear.  It is the solution to every problem.

The greater the fear; the greater the love.

There are a few ways you can show love through setting boundaries.

1. Clear Communication
Be clear. Tell the truth.

Most of us avoid the truth because conflict makes us uncomfortable. This is unkind–to ourselves and others.

Use this formula for telling the truth:

“When you say (or do) ________________, I feel _______________.”

Resist the urgency to accuse.  Just state your feelings.

The point is not to place blame. The point is to uncover the real issue.  (What you’re arguing about is never the real disagreement. Remember it’s always fear)

2. Call It Out
Call out the underlying issue without drama and without placing blame. Reassure your loved one at the point of their pain.

Use phrases like…

I can understand how this would make you feel like we’re less connected.

It makes sense that you would feel uncertain or scared that….

I know you must be feeling frightened that…

3. Ultimately Love and Respect Yourself, First

Repeat after me…

I am not responsible for someone else’s feelings,
disappointment or well-being.

Each person’s fear–and ultimately, their journey–is their own. You are not responsible for it.

By loving and respecting yourself first, you are liberated to treat others how you would like to be treated. You can be gracious without needing anything from them.

Boundaries are Kindness Expressed

Boundaries are power.  They are kind because they honor your spiritual well-being. They are kind because they let others know exactly what to expect of you.

If you consistently hold your boundaries, people will respect you and it will open doors of opportunity which lead to great intimacy and authenticity in your relationships.

It’s up to you to embrace and enforce them.  So let your inner Madea flourish!

Check out this week’s AWAKE! Podcast episode for more on this topic.

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • That’s one of my favorite parts of the movie too, Steve. Madea is HILARIOUS! 😀

    I have truly embraced my inner Madea, although a lot of mine come from my mother – she was a real-life Madea, trust. When I was younger, I did everything I knew to do, NOT to be like her – I know that sounds kind of mean, but you would have had to meet her to truly understand. She was a real firecracker of a lady.

    However, the older I get, the more I have come to realize, there’s just no way around the fact that she’s in me. The only difference is I’ve been exposed a bit more than she had the chance to be, and because of that exposure I’m better able to steer my inner Madea a bit more when it comes to “expressing myself.”

    A lot of that has everything to do with setting boundaries – for other people, as well myself. If I know who I am, I’m better able to know what I would do in any given situation. If a situation takes me out of character, or if it could potentially take me out – I have learned to avoid the situation, altogether.

    For instance, when we first moved in together, my companion and I used to be the “party guys” of our inner circle. Long story short – and I mean really short – time passed and people changed. Totally OK – we do that from time to time. Yet, when things changed, I begin to see a pattern in certain people’s behaviors that didn’t sit quite to my liking; but that didn’t stop us from getting invites to functions they would have at their place or facility of choice. I knew that if we went – something would be said or done sarcastically that would drive to react – Madea-style! LOL So I thought it best to automatically decline out of avoidance of that ever happening. I think it’s for that reason the relationships have gotten a lot better over the last couple of years.

    You’re absolutely right on this, bud – we aren’t responsible for how other people take whatever we say or do, but we are very much responsible for situations we place ourselves in that cause us to say and do things, that may be taken wrongly. 🙂 Great post, mate!

    • That’s a great point, Deeone…knowing yourself better allows you to set better boundaries for others. Dr. Phil always says that we teach others how to treat us….and I think he’s right.

      I totally get what you mean about people changing. We just celebrated 4 years and I look back on our early correspondence and realize so deeply how we’ve changed. Generally, that’s been good. Like you guys, it has made us stronger.