Seeing as how there are many different types of relationships, there can be many different sorts of boundaries. Truthfully, each interaction you have with the people in your life is a sort of relationship. You have an intimate relationship with your spouse, an emotional relationship with your parents, friends, and siblings, and professional relationships with your coworkers. Therefore, it is important to not only understand boundaries and the purpose they serve, but also to include them in every interaction in all of your relationships.
In an online article, Mark Manson insists that “clearly defining your boundaries is as close to a cure for relationship problems” as it gets. If boundaries are not set, and set early on in the relationship or interaction, people involved typically end up taking responsibility for others’ emotions and reactions. When in reality each individual is solely responsible for their own emotional well-being and reactions to what may happen. When boundaries are set and enforced effectively, they can foster trust and respect in relationships that previously may only have been tentative or not present at all. This inevitably strengthens relationships, rather than limiting or restricting them as one may initially think.
When boundaries are clearly communicated, along with the consequences if those boundaries are not honored, the other person in the relationship understands your expectations. It is a common misconception that it is more beneficial to not have expectations in the first place, but I truly believe that is the lazy approach. Strong and healthy relationships take intentional effort, and some people consider that work while others consider it a privilege. Setting these boundaries is a step in the right direction to sorting out those different kinds of people.
Renowned counselor, Keir Brady, has shared that “in order to establish effective boundaries, you have to know yourself, communicate your boundaries to others and follow through with the consequences.” Inconsistency is not conducive to what boundaries are meant to achieve. For others to take your boundaries seriously, you have to first. It seems that it is not only beneficial to become quite self-aware so as to set boundaries that serve you and your relationship’s best interest; it is crucial. When you notice in a relationship that you often feel disrespected, taken advantage of, disregarded, invalidated, or even simply uncomfortable; that is when you know it is time to consider how setting a boundary could improve the relationship. By knowing and sharing your limits, you can create an opportunity for others to understand you better. Most often, discord is the direct product of misunderstanding.
Renee Slanksy, relationship coach, advocates for a number of practical means to setting healthy boundaries. For instance, if you know your worth you are able to set a non-negotiable boundary with people whether or not they honor your worth. She’s highlighted that another great approach to setting healthy boundaries is communicating effectively about your boundaries and often. For example, if you take the time to explain your boundary and where it arises from it can only breed a better understanding between you and the other person. Lastly, Renee Slanksy reminds us to reward positive behavior. Affirmation is beneficial because it can only encourage continued respect for the boundaries in the relationship.
Hopefully, by changing up your perspective of and approach to boundaries, you will be able to benefit from practicing using them. Ultimately, boundary setting is a fundamental act of self-care. It won’t always be easy and sometimes people will cross them and times like that are when it is most important to be diligent in your efforts. The rewards greatly outweigh the struggle. For families going through tough times, a family lawyer such as Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC may also suggest setting firm boundaries in place to try and smooth over the tides going forward. All in all having firm boundaries and a good perspective on them gives a great chance of things improving in the relationships of many people.