relationship boundaries

May 8, 2023

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a few thoughts on boundaries

first, my definition: boundaries are the distance at which I can care for you and myself, simultaneously.

if we turn that into a question we have ourselves a wise little tool.

In any relationship, at any moment, we can ask ourselves, is my current position in this relationship allowing me to care for myself and the other person at the same time?

if the answer isn’t yes/yes (them/you) then your boundaries are bad. a yes/no means someone’s boundaries are not being respected. and a no/no means you have a shit show on your hands.  

now, boundaries are challenging because they’re dynamic and always changing. for example, the boundary that i have with my wife this morning may not be the same boundary that i have with her later in the day.

here is a more specific example. last night, my wife and i got into an argument. she said something that pissed me off, and I was i was stewing in my upsetness.

so i was asked myself the aforementioned boundary question: is staying in this conversation right now good for me and for her?

the answer was a clear no, because i was pissed. so i took some space. i set a productive boundary.

now, this morning we revisited the conversation, which still wasn’t very pleasant, but i was able to manage my anger and care for myself, and her, during that conversation, so i stuck it out.

to recap: last night the boundary was we’re not having this conversation, and this morning it was we are having this conversation.

the takeaway: a boundary is always influenced by the moment its occurring in, which is why i like the question i shared; it distills the boundary into a yes or no question, in the moment you reflect on it.

why boundaries

the point of establishing good boundaries is to ensure you get your needs met.

if you get your needs met, then you can take care of other people’s needs. you have to come first, regardless of what you’ve been conditioned to think.

when you ensure you are taken care of, then the other person, you create a win/win relationship which is both effective and productive, and necessary for continued growth.

in contrast, if you’re not actively setting healthy boundaries in your relationships, you run the risk of “giving yourself away” or cutting yourself off, both of which lead to resentment – a relationship killer.

and i’m not just talking about committed or romantic relationships.

boundaries exist in every relationship, your kids, your boss, your colleagues, your neighbors…every relationship. 

so my advice is you get into the habit of asking yourself: is my current position in this relationship allowing me to care for myself and the other person at the same time?

good luck.

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