Why are boundaries such an important element in relationships?
To answer this question, I have to pose a few more questions, so bear with me…
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- What is mine and what is yours?
- Where do I begin and you end?
You see, one of the biggest challenges that lead to conflict in relationships is the belief that another person is responsible for making me feel a certain way (happy, fulfilled, safe, etc). It is actually my responsibility to make me feel happy, fulfilled and safe. When I take responsibility for that, then I create the space for someone else in my life to add to my happiness, add to my fulfillment, and add to my feelings of safety. But no one can do it for me if I haven't done my own work.
And that's where we get into trouble. I want you to do it! You did it before! But I don't like the way you are doing it/not doing it now and I'm pissed!
If you looked in the dictionary you would find one definition that states: something that indicates or fixes a limit. To me, a limit indicates a starting and stopping point. If we sat in a row of cubicles that provided two feet on both sides of each desk until the divider wall, we would know exactly what is mine and what is yours based on the divider wall. This is a good way to think about boundaries in your relationships. When someone tosses their 'garbage' over that wall and into your cubicle, they have violated your boundary. You can say 'no thank you' and put it back on the other side. You do not have to be the garbage container. You also don't have to scream or throw it back in anger.
We can set good boundaries by paying attention to where we want those 'walls' in our life and let the people we are in a relationship with know where the dividers are. When someone pushes on your wall, or violates your boundary, you calmly let them know what action you will take if the violation continues. Sometimes you build a higher wall. Sometimes you move your cubicle. Sometimes you renegotiate the wall. The best part is that it can all be done from love.
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Is there somewhere in your life that your boundaries are not clear? Do you ever feel like someone is taking their 'garbage' and throwing it over that wall into your cubicle? Are you being the container for that garbage? Are you ready to change that?
Contact me for a complimentary coaching consultation to discuss this further!