I learned it the hard way and still have to remind myself at times, but a relationship with no healthy boundaries is a recipe for disaster, hurt, anger, misunderstanding and ultimately lack of trust.
Do you ever quiet down your mind and listen to that recurring thought screaming out at you. This week for me it was around boundaries. Everyone I spoke to everything, everything I read, it was about why we should have them and the problems caused by not having firm boundaries in place.
So aware of this was I, that I reached for my copy of Brene Brown’s The gifts of imperfection.
What she addresses is the chaos that reigns when we are living without boundaries.
We say yes when we mean no.
We get resentful because we feel taken for granted.
We give off confusing signals to those around us, our word and our actions are out of alignment.
It becomes difficult to understand us, people are confused by us and this leads to a lack of trust, breeds lack of communication and so it spirals in miscommunication, mistrust, resentment, loss of friendship and relationships.
It leads to isolation and a sense of the whole world is against you!
Brene Browns goes to great lengths to point out is that in this state we can not offer the world the best of us and I do believe that each one if us fervently desires to be useful and be of service to others.
First, however, we must know and help ourselves.
I wasn’t big on boundaries beforehand, for a few reasons, firstly I didn’t really get that I had a choice – I thought the whole thing was pre-destined and I had been assigned my role and that was pretty much that, however, necessity led to investigation (that and the gentle kick of the bloody universe yet again holding up its mirror – and showing chaos without boundaries).
So here is what I’ve learned about why they work and how they should be non-negotiable in your every day and significant relationships.
1. The boundaries you set are for you, it is your own blueprint on how you want to live, be treated and allow others to interact with you. It isn’t a rule book which you issue to any prospective friends, lovers or colleagues. They don’t need to know. When you know and you are comfortable setting and implementing boundaries – they will just get it. It makes for simpler relationships, more trust and way more respect. Paradoxically those with whom you are working your boundaries will feel more respected and more drawn to you.
2. You will know yourself so well because in order to set safe limits you need to know who you really are.
What are you values honesty, love, respect, loyalty, creativity, this list is endless? Once you have a list check what they mean to you.
What are your beliefs – this is a little tougher. This is your opportunity to have to sift through what you have heard and seen in parents, peers, teachers etc.
Take an honest appraisal of the stories you are telling yourself about you, the world about you and your place in the world.
Do you believe life is easy, money is hard earned, you are beautiful, deserve to be loved as you are? The beliefs limit you and create your reality – you are never going to set healthy boundaries in your romantic relationships of your beliefs that you weren’t meant to find true love and men always treat you badly. Without boundaries guess what: you will never find true love and men always treat you badly. These beliefs can do nothing but create a glass ceiling for your happiness.
3. You actually get to start creating your life, setting out the acceptable and unacceptable for you.
This is where you really get to have some fun leading by example. You love yourself right, show others how you want to be treated and putting yourself first. Set the tone, I love me and look how well I treat myself, want into my circle then you too must treat with this level of love and respect.
4. One of the most powerful aspects of setting boundaries isn’t that life has to change dramatically, you may find yourself still taking the same actions in the majority of cases. The difference is you are decision-making consciously, therefore you are taking charge your corner of the world and your happiness. The world is your mirror, so reflect outwards what you wish to receive back. It is powerful stuff. You have given yourself permission to be empowered. You are shining brightly for all to see.
Imagine teaching your daughter there is a different way, friends will see the difference. And wan to know the secret.
You go from doormat to beacon of hope – I don’t exaggerate I have seen it happen time and time again.
5. Drop the comparisonitus, who hasn’t looked with resentment at another and thought why does life always seem to work for them and it is always a struggle for me?
Setting boundaries allow you to say no when you are too busy, tired or simply don’t want to do something. It creates better relationships because when you say yes, people know you are “all in.” - no room for resentment on your side.
Remember how others react to the change in you says more about them than you...ride the resistance storm it is so worth it and so are you.
There is no need to be unhappy in life or in your marriage, you hold the power and the solution and happiness is only a decision away.
Allison Reiner is a qualified Personal Development Coach, Mentor, and Speaker. So If you are struggling to put healthy boundaries into your relationships and would like help, book a connection call by clicking this link .