How to Set Healthy Relationship Boundaries
Setting and enforcing healthy boundaries can be the thing that enhances or sabotages relationships in any area of your life, having a detrimental effect on your happiness, confidence, and sense of self-worth. Boundaries play a huge role in personal and professional empowerment.
As a child, you were (hopefully) taught by your parents and caregivers ways to behave appropriately and how to interact with others. When a young toddler hits another child, the parent explains that it’s not acceptable to hit another person. In the wonderful teenage years, when adolescents push back on authority, they are taught how and why that behavior won’t fly. Parenting is all about setting and enforcing boundaries through teaching.
A boundary is something that indicates bounds or limits. A fence around the yard of your childhood home is an example of a physical boundary. As kids, your parents may have said the fence is the limit to how far you could stray when playing outside.
Every boundary also has a threshold; a point at which, when crossed, is of sufficient intensity to produce an effect. If you went beyond the fence in the yard as a young kid, there were repercussions like being scolded or grounded from playing outside for a few days. This was how you learned that to cross the line would result in some form of fallout.
If you were parented in a way that you learned to stay within certain boundaries and why it mattered, there’s a good chance you learned how to set and enforce boundaries of your own. If the ways in which you were disciplined as a child weren’t clearly marked with an understanding of where the boundary was or why it was relevant, it may be more challenging for you to identify and state your boundaries to others as an adult—or to honor and respect the boundaries of others.
Boundaries are something everyone has learned about, whether they’re aware of it consciously or not. Think of a boundary as a line drawn in the sand that represents a “go” or “no go” in any given situation. If the boundary is honored, all is well. If the line is cross, and the boundary is violated, it could result in the loss of a job, the marring of a friendship, or the ruin of an intimate partnership.
People often confuse boundaries with ultimatums. A boundary is a limit that you have within a relationship or a given life situation. When that boundary gets pushed too far, it sends you over the edge, metaphorically-speaking. An ultimatum, on the other hand, is a final, uncompromising demand or set of terms declared by one party in a dispute. The rejection of meeting the terms of this demand will usually lead to a show of force, often resulting in the severance of the relationship. In other words, an ultimatum is a boundary with an extreme threshold, where …read more
Source: Deepak Chopra