“Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”

Boundaries, the bread and butter of relationships and not just romantic relationships but ALL relationships.  Boundaries establish limits and expectations on how you and others want to be treated.  Whether it’s your mother, brother or significant other, if you want a thriving relationship, developing a sound understanding of boundaries is a good starting place.  If you find yourself repeatedly saying yes when you want to say no, taking on other problems because you don’t like conflict and simply find yourself being walked on, keep reading because this article is for you.

The biggest mistake I see surrounding boundaries is people feeling as though they are a brick wall and a barrier to closeness when in actuality boundaries serve the exact opposite purpose.  Boundaries serve as guide posts creating a sense of safety and security, key elements to healthy intimacy.  If you have loose, chaotic boundaries, establishing healthy limits may initially feel like a brick wall to you and those around you.  The healthy individuals in your life will rise to the occasion, confront their own issues with boundaries and adapt while the unhealthy will not adapt, want you to go back to your old chaotic ways and will eventually move on.

Most of us were raised in situations where boundaries were not clear so our understanding of boundaries is as unclear as our earlier examples. I like starting with Basic Personal Rights for people to understand where they can go with boundaries.  As you read this, keep in mind those around you are entitled to the exact same rights.

Basic Personal Rights
You have the right:

 to privacy — in marriage, in family, in any relationship, in any group — the
right to keep a part of your life secret, no matter how trivial or how important,
merely because you want it to be that way. And you have the right to be
alone part of each day, each week, and each year, to spend time with yourself.
 on occasions to make demands of others.
 to ask for consideration, help, and/or affection from others.
 to say “no” without feeling guilty or selfish.
 to hear “no” without feeling unworthy.
 to ask questions of anyone, at any time, in any manner that affects your life,
so long as it is your business to do so, and to be listened to and taken
 to have your opinions and ideas given the same respect and consideration
others have.
 to self-respect and to do everything you need to do to increase your selfesteem so long as you hurt no one in doing so.
 to be trusted and to trust and to be taken at your word. If you are wrong, you
have the right to be given a chance to make good if possible.
 to make mistakes and be responsible for them (not the same old ones – but
new ones).
 to not automatically be assumed wrong.
 to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand.”
 to have your needs be as important as another’s.
 to be free as long as you act responsibly and are mindful of the rights of
others and of those obligations that you entered freely.
 to feel and express anger and other emotions.
 to use your judgment in deciding your own needs.
 to make your own decisions.
 to tell others what your needs are.
 to ask others to change their behavior.
 to take time to sort out your reactions — before responding to other people’s
 not to have others impose their values on you.

Speak Your Mind