When it comes to relationships, I have had to learn and unlearn several things. Emotional intelligence and communication skills have been top on the list of things that I have had to learn. The importance of setting boundaries and communicating them is one thing that I learnt the hard way, and there is just something about lessons learnt the hard way. They stick with you for life.
The truth is, you can’t control how everyone relates to you; nevertheless, it is possible to set boundaries amongst the people closest to you. In fact, it is essential if you want your relationships to flourish. A good relationship does not just happen because you desire one; a lot of work goes into having one. You will have to be open to difficult conversations, a lot of compromises and adaptation.
In all my current relationships, I try to make my expectations known to the other party, and I expect the same from them. Another thing that has helped my relationships is setting boundaries. I no longer get angry over things that I can talk about and establish a solution. Boundary setting has helped me let go of toxic feelings like resentment and hatred.
Boundary setting has not been a walk in the park for me; I have had to make extreme decisions like ending a few relationships. Some people want you to accept their inappropriate behaviour by all means, and that is why when you try to teach them what you permit and what you don’t, they begin to act up.
In the past, when I made attempts to communicate my boundaries assertively and compassionately, I still received a few negative reactions from certain people. Those type of reactions usually leaves you feeling guilty and uncomfortable. But, I have come to understand that even if I communicate my boundaries most pleasantly, the possibility of an adverse reaction is still present.
Boundaries prevent unnecessary misunderstandings, pain, stress and manipulations. They keep the parties concerned in check. Boundaries are totally different from putting up walls. They shouldn’t be taken personal.
Right now, boundary setting in ALL my relationships is a non-negotiable. The fact that it doesn’t come easy signifies that it is imperative! We teach people how to treat us by showing them how we treat ourselves. Preserving my sanity and peace of mind is one way I take care of myself, and if I want others to do the same, I must show them how. Nobody can read my mind, remember?
Someone once said, when you avoid difficult conversations, you are trading short term discomfort for long term dysfunction.
I choose to be vocal about my expectations, boundaries and roles. No relationship thrives without doing this. Chaos and disorderliness abound when there is vagueness.
Presently, I am at a space in my life where I am least concerned about the negative reactions of people when I communicate boundaries. To be honest, I expect it most of the time. Not everybody is going to be okay with your decisions, and you have to be okay with that. I not only create boundaries, but I personally supervise the boundaries and ensure they are being kept.
You and I have a duty to ensure we maintain healthy relationships. A major factor of a healthy relationship is the free will. Any relationship that robs you of your free will and decision is toxic. A person who genuinely cares will respect your wishes to create boundaries even when they don’t completely understand.
Don’t be that person that makes other people feel bad for setting up boundaries in their lives.
If you have no intention of respecting the boundaries of a person you claim to care about, simply excuse yourself from their lives.
Lastly, please never feel guilty for putting up structure in your life. It is very much needed!
Let me know what you think about setting boundaries in relationships. I’d really love to hear from you.