Good fences make good neighbors ... and good boundaries make good relationships.
Boundaries are the invisible lines that we create in relationships that keep us happy and prevent us from being taken advantage of by the other person. They are rules for behaviors that we deem acceptable in a relationship, and ones we don’t.
By reinforcing our own boundaries and not crossing someone else's, we are able to have happier and more conflict-free relationships. It also serves to keep us from feeling resentful toward our partner and other people in our lives who occasionally do things we don’t like.
When our boundaries are constantly violated by others, we may feel uncomfortable, angry, disrespected and generally unsatisfied with the relationship. Additionally, poor boundaries demonstrate to other people that we have low self respect.
Poor boundaries usually come in two varieties; either the person with poor boundaries gets walked all over, or they walk over everyone else, treating them in ways they won’t tolerate long term.
People with high self respect don’t usually fall into either category since problems with either taking too much or too little responsibility for one’s own behavior are often symptoms of low self esteem.
The compromise is speaking up for yourself when someone crosses the line while maintaining appropriate control over your own behavior.
So what do healthy boundaries actually look like? They involve managing and taking responsibility your own thoughts, feelings and actions while respecting the separate thoughts, feelings and actions of others.
Here are 5 ways you can strengthen your own boundaries:
1. Detach yourself from other people’s problems.
2. Refuse to take responsibility (either inwardly or outwardly) for other people’s problems.
3. Take responsibility for your own problems and find solutions for them.
4. If you’re unhappy in your relationship, speak up. Aim to work out problems with your partner while taking responsibility for your part in the problem; no more, no less.
5. Don’t allow yourself to be guilt-tripped into feeling bad for things that weren’t your fault. When someone dishes out a guilt-trip, call them out on it.
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This article was originally published at Digital Romance Inc. Reprinted with permission from the author.