Here at the start of 2020, many of us wish for – and want to learn how to – improve our relationships with our friends, family and fellow human beings. Since I have been working as a coach and therapist for so many years, I have learned that one of the secrets of having good relationships with anyone is to have healthy boundaries. And this is true whether we’re talking about our relationship with our partners, mothers, fathers, children, friends or colleagues at work. Why is this so important? Because when we don’t have healthy boundaries, we have difficulty relating to other people in a good way and we also have trouble experiencing true intimacy.
So let’s take a look at what it means to have healthy boundaries. When we have healthy boundaries, we understand that I am me and you are you and that each one of us has a right to be here and to be who we are. It also means that each of us has the right to make choices for ourselves and then to experience the consequences of all our thoughts, words and actions. When we have healthy boundaries, we understand this and respect everyone’s right to be or do what feels right for them (and experience the consequences).
As a result of having healthy boundaries we respect other people’s rights and we expect other people to respect our rights. This means that when someone tells you how you should think or feel or what you should say or do when you don’t specifically ask them for their advice; they are not respecting your boundaries and your right to be you. This is an example of boundary violation and is why it feels so uncomfortable. No one likes to be told what to think, say or do when they didn’t ask for the other person’s advice.
So taking good care of ourselves means being able to recognize a boundary violation when it happens and then being able to tell another person (clearly and respectfully) that when you want their advice, you will ask for it. This is what being assertive is all about. It’s about being able to take good care of ourselves by communicating clearly and respectfully with other people. Especially when there are boundary violations. But this works both ways, which means we must also learn to respect other people and not tell them what to think, say or do unless they specifically ask for our advice or opinion. In other words, we do not allow other people to violate our boundaries and we do not violate other people’s boundaries either. In short, we treat each other with respect, especially when we are different or have different ideas or opinions about things.
People who have trouble with boundaries usually fall into two main categories: Boundary-less and walls. The first category (boundary-less) are people who have no boundaries and uncritically let other people tell them what to think, say or do. As well as people who tell other people what to think, say and do without being asked first. Both types of people are boundary-less.
The second category (walls) usually arises in people who have been treated disrespectfully so many times that they have walls instead of boundaries and never let anyone get close to them. Unfortunately, this also prevents them from showing and sharing who they really are.
And then of course there are people who swing between being boundary-less and having walls. In all these cases, it is difficult to have close, healthy relationships with other people and to experience true intimacy which is the ability to share who one is with other people in a respectful manner.
When we begin to understand what it means to have healthy boundaries, we can learn to communicate honestly and respect both ourselves and the right of other people to say and do what feels right for them. And we can also learn to take better care of ourselves when other people try to interfere with our right to make our own choices.
May you have healthy boundaries in 2020!
About Barbara Berger
American-born Barbara Berger is the best-selling author of “The Road to Power – Fast Food for the Soul” (published in 30 languages), “Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life” (published in 21 languages) and “The Awakening Human Being – A Guide to the Power of Mind”. Barbara's latest book is "Find and Follow Your Inner Compass – Instant Guidance in an Age of Information Overload". All her books are available on Amazon.com or on her Web site. Barbara also works as coach and therapist, helping people around the globe come into alignment with their own true power. For more about Barbara see her Web site: http://www.beamteam.com
*** Below are titles & links to the beautiful work from Barbara. She is a long time contributor :)
The Ultimate Self-Empowerment Tool – Your Inner Compass
The Key to Happiness; Understanding the Way the Mind Works
Who would you be if you didn’t know your age?
The Power of Right Seeing
Review of Barbara Berger’s book Find and Follow Your Inner Compass by Riki Frahmann
Who would you be if you didn’t know your age?
Are You Here Now? Are You Happy Now?
Discovering Who You Really Are
Getting in Touch with Your Heart
Follow Your Passion & Accept the Consequences
The Power of the Joyful Giver
You have nothing to deal with but your own thoughts
Peace Is Your Nature
The Power of Contemplating Love
How Can We Serve?
The Importance of Mind Management
Focus on the Real – A Way of Dealing with Worry and Catastrophic Thinking
Nothing External Can Disturb Us
Just Let Everything Be!
The Gift of Crisis
The Power of Asking for Help
What does it mean to be psychologically mature?
The Meaning of Life
The Power of Praise & Blessing
Our Unalienable Rights
Meeting the Family & Keeping Your Peace of Mind
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