By Banu Sekendur
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
“You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.” ~ Tony Gaskins
There isn’t a relationship in life that doesn’t require healthy boundaries for it to function happily. If you think about it, the whole of life is based on relationships. The flowers have a relationship with the soil, the sun has a relationship with the moon, we have a relationship with our bodies, our money, our significant other, our pets, even with the doorman at the building we live in and so on.
The boundaries and parameters for each relationship are different and are unique to the type of relationship at hand. This is probably why boundaries can get complicated as we navigate and negotiate relationships every day of our lives.
Learning to set healthy boundaries can be messy
Over the many years I spent on my personal growth and healing, boundaries have been one of the more challenging areas of life. I am, not only a recovering codependent, but a naturally a giving person. As I got to know myself better my need to learn how to negotiate boundaries in a win-win way had increased.
It took a lot of practice and mistakes (some embarrassing) to get to a place to communicate what I need without having an anxiety attack. I barked boundaries at people and squealed like a 2 month-old puppy when people didn’t immediately start doing what I asked them to do. It makes me cringe to think about it now. Yet, I know that without forgiving the mess of the initial practice, I couldn’t have arrived where I am now. I know that I am better at boundaries from decreased emotional stress in my life. During my messy practice period, I have found a handful of tried and true perspectives on setting and living with healthy boundaries that might offer you some insights.
Boundaries can’t guarantee that we will be treated fairly by others
This may be hard to accept but it’s true. Boundaries are the guidelines we ask people to follow if they want a safe, connected and joyful relationship with us. We can be assertive and kind as we set boundaries and hope for these boundaries to be honored. Since we can’t control what others do and how they respond, the guarantee of that respect is not and will not be there.
The reason is simple: we can’t manipulate others into doing what we want and still feel connected to that person on a deep, honest level. True intimacy is at the opposite end of manipulation, guilt-tripping, punishing and passive-aggressive behaviors. Boundaries help create a safe platform for intimacy and connection to happen naturally.
Things to remember when learning to set boundaries
How do you know you need to set boundaries?
Setting boundaries we need offers many rewards
Feeling angry because a boundary that we didn’t know we had had been broken is perfect self-knowledge to build on. Self-love is about self-knowledge. We cannot love ourselves without knowing ourselves. Our awareness and work around boundaries give us critical information about what makes us tick, smile or frown. This information essentially adds to our happiness if we honor it and make requests from others that support us in our pursuit of happiness.We also feel better about ourselves when we learn how to set boundaries, get more in-tuned with our authentic needs, increase the level of honesty and intimacy we share in relationships as well as expanding our emotional options. Essentially, boundaries create the safety we need to show up as we are and still feel close to the people we care to engage with. This is the reason why learning how to set boundaries is a crucial skill to develop and with some care, compassion and patience, we can enjoy the relationship connections we desire without drama and conflict.
Banu Sekendur is a writer, teacher, coach, small business cheerleader and an intuitive (not in any particular order) with a dual Masters in Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy. A life-long seeker, Banu has been interested in the workings of the human psyche since childhood, and has dedicated her life to helping people discover, own and live who they truly are ~ and to build a happy life around that.
You can connect with Banu Sekendur at www.facebook.com/BanuLLC and her website www.workwithbanu.com
“Come as you are.
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