The boundary of a relationship determines how, where, and with whom a person engages. It is a line between two people that creates an effect – that’s true whether the outcome is positive or negative. Despite our inability to see our ties, every relationship is actually made up of unhealthy and healthy connections.
Boundaries show where the responsibilities of one person end and those of another begin. By maintaining healthy boundaries, we identify what is comfortable and uncomfortable in each area of our lives. In a relationship, they help us understand our expectations. In the absence of this differentiation, enmeshment and codependency (or dysfunctional helping) develop, resulting in a number of problems as individual boundaries are blurred.
In an environment lacking healthy boundaries, a person may feel like they are being pushed and pulled in many directions. It is essential for people to be able to set boundaries and communicate where the line of respect lies, but more often than not, people without healthy boundaries feel used.
I got virtually married last 2019 and the first year of my marriage I realized that I had no boundaries and I was an eternal pleaser. I lived my life as a people pleaser and dysfunctional helper. Because of this, I became angry, tired, and resentful of the decisions I made. How come? I realized that I was always the last to do anything, I had no time or energy left to replenish myself. My frequent question was: “When will it be my turn?” The time has come for me to take care of my needs, to achieve my goals, to work out.
A driver stopped for me on a gravel road one day. With irritation and disdain, I thought to myself, “What do they want?” The people seemed to be taking advantage of me. I seemed to be about to lose my muffler, so the driver did seem to want something. Can this kindness be distorted in any way?
Unless I made a change, the quality of my life wouldn’t improve. The decision rested with me. My life had been built on sacrifice, but now I felt helpless just like a hungry teenager devouring Cheetos.
Get started on choosing you and your happiness today by taking small steps.
How to Set Boundaries in Healthy Relationships?
A healthy relationship begins with healthy boundaries. Having healthy boundaries in your relationship will immediately improve its quality. I have noticed these benefits in my marriage and the relationships of my clients, but here are a few:
- Respect between people increases.
- In coming to terms with and meeting each other’s needs, greater love blooms.
- Bringing out the best in each other strengthens the bond.
- Resentment and repetitive arguments are replaced by understanding and closeness.
- Energy and vitality increase in each person and the relationship.
- Each individual can enhance their inner peace.
- As the relationship progresses, ease and lightheartedness increase.
- Stronger bonds are created by autonomy.
A lot of people have a negative perception of boundaries. When boundaries become difficult and frightening for pleasers, they become unattainable, impossible, and uncontrollable. A healthy boundary may appear self-serving to the altruistic. Moreover, setting boundaries may seem like a delicate matter that can lead to hurt feelings and ultimately have a gloomy outcome for the pollyannaish.
A healthy life involves setting healthy boundaries. By practicing self-care, we show our partners, children, extended family, friends, and life itself how we respond to them. We must honor each other and create win-win situations while taking care of ourselves. It is our first responsibility to care for ourselves. Our needs are unique to us, so no one knows them but us!
Boundaries are useful in many ways. The hamper is a boundary for your dog so he cannot chew the dirty socks. Using your inside voice as a boundary is a good thing to do. Driving laws and speed limits serve as safety boundaries (or rules).
You can set a limit for your romantic relationship by simply asking:
- Kindness is the best policy.
- Budget your finances.
- Meet your dinner or joint appointment on time.
- You can rotate cooking meals or help with chores.
- Mornings are good for meditation or quiet time. Do not interrupt.
- Taking care of your children can support your exercise time.
It is easier to set boundaries and care for ourselves when we recognize just how essential they are to living.
Once setting boundaries becomes ingrained in a relationship and is respected, there are fewer and fewer volcanic eruptions, no matter how small or simple a request may be. There is no buildup of pressure along the fault lines of the relationship. Taking this step calmly and securely sets the foundation for love to dance joyfully.