Learning to pay attention to the little things we can do to create healthier relationships
This series is designed to address personal boundaries and help you to identify those that you or someone you know may be having some difficulties with. By identifying boundaries and knowing when they get crossed, we stand a greater chance of protecting ourselves and gaining more fulfilling relationships. Sometimes we focus on meeting someone else’s needs and end up sacrificing our own. By putting limits in place you will find that not only do you feel healthier, but you have also surrounded yourself with others who feel the same! Why Respecting Boundaries Is Crucial, Part 2
Taking to Get. Do you take anything that you can get for the sake of getting things? Material things can become confused with love. The thought being, “if someone gives me stuff then they must love me.” The attainment of things can then be confused with personal value – “the more stuff I have the more important I am.” The difficulty is that the collecting of things is an impulsive achievement that is based in instant gratification and has no basis in long term satisfaction. You will always want more, because the true need of love and validation is never truly met by getting or having things.
Allowing Others to Take. Do you let someone take as much as they can from you without saying stop? In general people are geared toward survival, which means that if things are offered to us we will take them. If we feel the offer is implied we will continue to take. So if people are not told to stop, they have no information that tells them that they are doing something wrong. We need to be told when we have crossed a line. You need to be willing to tell someone it is not okay to continue to take from you. They may not even know they have hurt you and may be grateful for the information.
Giving Over Your Life. Do you let others dictate the direction of your life regardless of your wants or needs? When we don’t trust that we know what is right or good we will let others tell us instead. We will then bend to what they say we should be doing. While this can feel like a relief and can let you feel as though the pressure is off of you to make the hard decisions, you are then left living someone else’s life with their ideals, values and needs. Meanwhile your ideals, values and needs didn’t stop existing, they just got sidelined and you will continue to feel as though something is missing or wrong until you learn to trust your own instincts.
Assuming. Do you believe that others can and/or should be able to anticipate your needs? I often hear people say “But he should know that already. I shouldn’t have to tell him.” We need to be constantly educating others about us – what we think, feel, want and need. While you can get an idea of how another person may react in a situation if you’ve known them for a long time, you never really know what they are thinking unless you ask. And they certainly do not know what you are thinking unless you tell them. It can be frustrating and feel like it takes the specialness out of something if you have to explain it or ask for it, but the alternative is that your need never gets met.
Expecting Immediate Results. Do you expect others to fill your needs immediately and without prompting? This assumes that you are the superior and all others are inferior to you; that they are only here to meet your needs. If you place yourself above others in this way you will keep yourself from being able to achieve intimacy with another person because there will never be equality between you. True intimacy comes from partnership. Other people in your life may need to attend to their needs before they get to yours. This does not mean they don’t care, it only means that they understand that they have value, too.
There is no such thing as perfection – nature has made that impossible. So when you try to create perfection by giving or taking all, expecting others to have ESP or to be your servant you will constantly be set up to fail and immediately create a sense of failure for yourself and your relationships. But, when you relax, trust and acknowledge the needs of yourself and others, you will begin to feel confident and will lose the need for those defensive barriers.