Relationships By Montrel Grant / last week We all want to be in a healthy relationship with someone whom we can grow and develop with. We are social creatures and the need to be able to relate with some other person is a necessary in life. Even the most introverted of us occasionally like spending quality time with someone else. These relationships can be business relationships, platonic relationships, or romantic relationships. Whatever the nature of the relationship may be, it is important that you set up boundaries to maintain a healthy relationship with the person you are involved with. So what are boundaries? boundaries are our protective emotional shields against the world. Like a castle or fortress that sets up walls to protect the citizens inside, our boundaries to protect and honor our own values, hearts and characters. Often times setting up boundaries can be a difficult thing to do because our own fears of pushing others away. However, in not setting boundaries we are at risk of allowing others to disrespect our values, and disrupt our own sense of self. This is not an arbitrary statement. In the fields of psychology, research suggest that some have difficulties establishing and maintaining boundaries, possibly due feeling they aren’t worthy of the love and respect. When you set boundaries for yourself you maintain your self-respect and self-love. If you cannot respect yourself and cannot love yourself then it is likely you may be unable to experience true love and respect for others. Below are several suggestions you may consider when establishing appropriate boundaries. Rule #1: No self-judgment “I don’t want to hurt their feelings.” “I’ll do this just to make them happy. I don’t want to be a mean person.” “I’m so lucky to have someone like this. I probably don’t deserve them.” There are many people who have such poor judgments of themselves. This poor outlook of oneself is what leads so many people to feel unworthy of love and respect, and when they lack self-love and self-respect they start to see themselves only in a negative light. In setting up boundaries a key factor is to be able to not judge yourself so badly. It is important that you hold yourself to a certain level of dignity and integrity. And just as important to expect more from yourself than you do from others. Rule #2: Silence the voice of fear “You can’t find anyone better.” “This is a good thing you got going here. Let the person just have their way.” “We need these people to like us because if they don’t then you’ll never be liked again” Fear is the quintessential emotion that keeps most people from setting up and maintaining any kind of boundaries. Fear makes us settle in relationships where we are mistreated and abused, physically, mentally and emotionally. We become so enamored with the partner, and in this enamored state we are guided by fear, and may begin to entertain our partner’s negative emotions about ourselves. The voice of fear is nothing more than a troll that won’t let you see your own innate self-worth. It is important to learn to silence the voice of fear, in order to maintain appropriate boundaries and protect a positive self image. Rule #3: Spend time in the right relationship We are all allotted a certain amount of time to live and accomplish whatever it is we were given this life to accomplish. We have only so much time to be the person we are meant to be, to live the life we are meant to live,and to experience all that we can experience. Remaining in a relationship with someone who doesn’t appreciate and respect your boundaries is a great disservice to yourself. The best way to maintain a healthy relationship and to respect the boundaries between each other is to foster relationships in which there is mutual respect for each other’s boundaries. Rule #4: Know your worth Anyone who goes out of there way to make you feel like you aren’t worthy of their love or their time, are not worthy of your love and time. This isn’t a case of, “I did this because you did this”. This is a case of you knowing your worth. You would not sell your mother’s necklace she gave you on her death bed for a million dollars. Why? Because you know how valuable it is to you. You must do the same when it comes to your heart and character. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel like you are less because you don’t cater to their needs at the expense of your own needs. Rule #5: Communication It is important to communicate. You can express your disagreements with one another without having to resort to yelling and arguing. When you yell and argue, neither person really gets their points across. The only thing that happens is that you start to lose focus on what the real issue is that you are arguing over. What was nothing more than a small incident becomes blown out of proportion. Mature love is not about seeing your partner as flawless, but rather seeing their flaws and accepting your partner in spite of their flaws. No one is perfect. And when you realize this, you can experience enduring love for your partner. Rule #6: Sometimes some time apart can do wonders “When you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.” – Khalil Gibran Sometimes the best way to maintain those healthy boundaries and to maintain the love and respect for your partner is to o spend some time apart, and engage in personal activities that maintain your own sense of self and independence. By maintaining a health independence grow to have a greater appreciation for your partner, and for yourself. You start to remember the things you love about your partner, and can appreciate them more. Relationships are about growing and developing. Boundaries are not meant to serve as a prison to keep you stagnant in unhappiness and despair but as a mean to protect you from all the negative emotions that, unfortunately, may emerge during any close relationship. When you establish and maintain boundaries you don’t keep people out but you protect the relationship you have. Just as the fortress protects its citizens from the enemies outside, so too will the boundaries you set protect and maintain the respect and love you have in your relationship.