Building Boundaries Instead of Walls
How do you handle ‘letting someone in’ to your life? Some of us slowly allow others in and some of us are open books. Whichever side of the fence we fall, there is one commonality — we feel it’s easier to let someone in than to risk offending them and losing the relationship.
So we just swing the door open wide and hope for the best. That feels good in the moment, right? It keeps everyone happy; they feel valued and important for being in your inner circle. You feel that you’ve got a team behind you. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
When it comes to our interpersonal relationships, we don’t want to disturb our precious and fragile relationships with our friends, family, coworkers and/or significant others. Many times, it’s easier to allow others to share their insight and opinions on our day-to-day situations than to tackle them on our own for a variety of reason.
Not setting healthy boundaries with those we care about, however, allows them to unintentionally interfere with our personal wellness; affecting us more that we know. Our ability to problem solve is sacred, not shared. So why do we find this idea to be so difficult?
Because we mistake boundaries for walls — spiritual and emotional boundaries are important for ones own well-being. Boundaries help contain and build strength from within, whereas walls tend to block and defend. When we start to view these two ideas separately we can begin to cultivate better relationships.
It is important to note, that we do, of course, need others — their love and support of our lives and our goals create a sense of accomplishment and wholeness within ourselves and our life. It’s when we allow others the opportunity to make decisions with us or for us that it starts to get sticky. We think we need to build walls as our boundaries are not being respected, walls are not necessary, a re-affirmation of our boundaries are.
We believe that in order to be loving humans we need to be open. Being open is wonderful, but we have to be mindful of the personal ramifications of giving our power to others or too much weight to their opinions. When we rely on others for advice about all of our personal needs or challenges — they begin to feel responsible, and sometimes even offended, if we don’t follow their advice.
Imagine if your closest confidants knew that you only came to them when you needed specific, quality advice. Instead of them feeling they owe you their help — they’re excited that their advice is what you seek! The value of them knowing this not only strengthens the relationship but may also lead to their best advice.
Now it’s time to practice — build your boundaries, but watch for walls. Allow those closest to you the opportunity to be present in your life, without being responsible for you. Building up this reciprocal respect of our personal boundaries not only strengthens relationships; but also creates peace within ourselves and our own abilities.