This topic should be a core subject in school. Humans are taught such unhealthy boundary skills as children, mostly because we learn by what we see. We see our parents set a boundary with a family member, only to have them break it moments/hours/days later. We have idealistic television shows preach boundary breaking as a part of the “romantic” process of finding love. We have people moving mountains for loved ones (or even acquaintances who sit lower on the totem pole) when those individuals would have no intention of ever reciprocating those intentional actions.
What we have to understand is, in order to have healthful relationships with our reoccurring cast of characters, we have to set boundaries. When we neglect to set boundaries (or worse off, when we set boundaries and then knowingly or continuously BREAK them), we are asking for trouble. See results below:
Our ability to set and maintain boundaries is a clear indicator of why we:
-*seem to always* attract the same type of person in romantic relationships
-feel taken advantage of in any type of relationship (familial, romantic, professional)
-feel unheard or undervalued
-take out our frustrations on the people we love
So while your soulmate is sitting at the corner bar, you’re too busy entertaining the guy who totally takes advantage of you and sleeps very well at night knowing that he can violate any emotional boundary he wants! (& he probably has no idea he’s even doing it.)
How do we begin to establish boundaries with people in our lives? First, figure out what the reoccurring problem is. Come up with a plan on what you want out of that relationship (keep in mind, this does not have to involve another person, as it can be a personal boundary with an activity or time-filler). And the golden rule- Start practicing the word “no”. Say it with me. “Noooooooo”. Doesn’t that feel good?
More on this to come. But in the meantime, we can all practice a little bit of reflecting on goals and boundary setting with ourselves. Be that all powerful person that we know you can be and just say naw.