Conscious Living: How to Set Healthy Boundaries Within Your Relationship
Boundaries within a relationship are a very tricky thing. Many people feel boundaries are unnecessary because our better half is supposed to just know and act upon our needs and wants. Or they think that perhaps they could ruin or interfere with the excitement of the relationship.
Wrong! All healthy relationship have boundaries. They are what creates security, trust and a fair playing ground within a relationship for it to grow. And it simply is not fair to assume our lovers know what we need or want without telling them.
I love the definition of boundaries put out there by Ryan Howes, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist in Pasadena, CA. He defines a boundary as “the line where I end and someone else begins.” He likens boundaries within a relationship to that of the boundaries around states.
If we didn’t have those state boundaries, how could we define where we live and which laws to follow? If we don’t make boundaries within our relationships, how can we succeed, grow and be happy together?
In healthy, stable, loving relationships partners will ”ask permission, take one another’s feelings into account, show gratitude and respect differences in opinion, perspective and feelings.” According to Howes.
Research has found that in less healthy relationships, partners assume their partners feelings and needs; they ignore when they are violating them and just expect them to get over it with no effort, leaving room for all kinds of fighting and hurt feelings.
Boundaries are a form of taking control of your life, they help us to be conscious of who we are and what we want. They give us a way to have healthy relationships in all aspects.
5 Tips on How to Set Healthy Boundaries Within Your Relationship
- Be conscious of your own feelings. Take some time to think about what makes you uncomfortable within your relationship. Think about why it does. When we are in a relationship, it is so easy to get lost in the other persons needs/wants/problems, shelfing our own. So the first step is to take out your feelings, think about what has hurt you in the relationship, think about what you love out of the relationship. Be completely honest with yourself so you can really start to form your boundaries. Ask your partner to do the same reflection on what makes them happy, and remember, it is ok to feel how you feel, your emotions are valid. If your partner is the real deal, than they will understand.
- Communicate your thoughts clearly, openly and honestly with each other, using “I” statements. Be peaceful, steady and calm. Remember you catch more flies with honey, right, so instead of sitting down and nailing your partner to a wall, start off with a compliment and then make a suggestion using the words “I feel” or “I would appreciate” or “I would like it if”. Starting things off with “you do this” puts your partner immediately on the defensive and will go nowhere. Be clear about your love for your partner while being clear about your boundaries and you can’t go wrong!
- DO NOT Assume your partner’s feelings. If you have questions, ask right then and there. If you are worried they are not getting your point than ask them. Otherwise you will just have more misunderstandings and fighting.
- Follow through on what you say and hold your partner accountable for the same. If not, the other person has an excuse to continue overstepping them. Which is a slippery slope, because before you know it you will find yourself compromising on things that aren’t acceptable to you.
- Take responsibility for your actions. It does take 2 to tango. Whereas our boundaries may be overstepped, we have allowed it, and we may be overstepping someone else’s. If you really want your relationship to grow and flourish, than both parties need to take responsibility for their actions.
- Know when it is time to call it quits. You can only share how you wish to be treated within a relationship. You can only be open and honest. You can not control the other person and need to be able to recognize when they are not respecting you or your boundaries. It may be time to move on.
I find that our boundaries can change, as we do over time. And we need to keep the lines of communication open to be honest about this with our partners as we grow together. It is important to be super clear on exactly what we want, what our common goals are, and what our rules are.
Setting boundaries is not easy, but if you follow my 6 tips, they can become a simple guide for you and your lover to walk a conscious path together, growing a healthy, stable, loving relationship until the end of time.
Cheers and happy relationships my conscious friends!
Malibu Mama Loves Xxx