establishing boundaries

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article on the subject of boundaries, called ‘Respect…Yours, Mine & Ours’.  Here is a link to the article in case you missed it. The subject of the article was intended to help those living with one or more family members, to establish boundaries for storage & use of their belongings, as well as the others, out of respect for one another.  By doing this, my hope was to establish a peaceful living environment for everyone in the home.

The same thought process can be used to establish boundaries with people as well as things. It’s really talking about respect for one another.  In most cases, we don’t think about boundaries when we initially enter into a personal relationship with another person.  It typically occurs when someone says or does something that makes us feel uncomfortable; in most cases, unintentionally.  At that time we need to consider the type of relationship we want to have with that person.   It may be the right time to set some boundaries, so we can have a healthy relationship with that other person.

The definition of boundaries in this context, according to Merriam-Webster is as follows: unofficial rules about what should not be done : limits that define acceptable behavior.  That’s really what we’re talking about here is ‘acceptable behavior’.  Everyone has their own thoughts on what they feel is acceptable behavior for interactions with others, but it all boils down to respect.  Respect for ourselves and others.

The most important part of establishing boundaries is open communication.   All people involved in the situation need to be able to sit down and discuss what happened.  As stated earlier in this article, the person may not have realized what they did was wrong.  Most of the time when you point out what was done, and that it made you feel uncomfortable, they will apologize and assure you that that was not their intention and that it won’t happen again.  By doing this, the other person should understand that this is a line, or boundary they crossed that constitutes unacceptable behavior.  If that doesn’t happen, you may need to decide if you want to continue to have a relationship with that person.

Just as you want your home to be a peaceful living environment, I’m guessing that you want your relationships to be peaceful as well.  By establishing boundaries within relationships that need them, you can achieve the peace you so desire.