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Boundaries. They are the single most effective tool to have and use for successful relationships, yet they are the most difficult tool to implement—especially the longer the relationship gets.
What is a boundary?
A piece of our being, an aspect of who we are, or even the things we identify with or has become a part of our life.
It’s those things that make up who we are and who we see ourselves as. The closer we get to our real selves, the more we need to defend it. We do that with boundaries—the protective act of holding on to that which makes us who we are.
We often think other people would consciously observe our boundaries. Our significant other loves and respects us, and naturally, they would want us to feel our best—be our best—all the time, right? Sorry, but this isn’t the case—and it’s not their fault.
It’s normal, as humans, to unconsciously want our partner to be more like us. It’s usually part of heated conversations and arguments. Most fights revolve around wanting others to see things how we do. It’s natural to think this way, that we completely forget we’re individuals with different likes, dislikes, preferences, and desires. Sure, we find love through common interests, but love is sustained through healthy differences.
That’s where boundaries come in.
In order to remain in a healthy relationship with all of the aspects that define us—we need to claim our boundaries regularly. No matter how long we’ve known someone, our loved ones will constantly, and unknowingly, attempt to become the same person. It’s in our best interest to remain individuals, keep what makes us unique and use that as a strength in bonding the love over time.
There’s a subtle rule here that isn’t always easy to adhere to: everything is our fault.
That’s right. Our boundaries are our responsibility to remind those around us that we mean business.
If we want to do whatever it is that makes us feel alive, then we need to stick to it. The more wishy-washy we are with our own standards, the more confusing the messages we send to our partner.
Never wait for someone to respect your boundaries or bring them up for you.
We’re in charge of our own preferences; our own likes/dislikes; and boundaries.
If we want to remain ourselves, we need to act like it. Over time, people will come to respect our decisiveness and expect nothing less.