Relationships

How to Set Boundaries for Success in Relationships

man behind fence

Setting boundaries is a skill that I wish I had learned much earlier in life.  Looking back at the amount of time, heartache, and energy that could have been saved if I just knew the importance of boundaries.  Perhaps I didn’t embrace them because that felt like “putting up walls” with people in my life.  I also believe there is a certain amount of “go along to get along” that happens early in life to fit in with the crowd.  My journey led me to understand that setting boundaries is creating rules with others and leads to a much happier, healthier relationships.  Here are three keys to setting boundaries so you can enjoy the same benefits.

Define Your Boundaries

The best way to figure out what your boundaries are, is to know what you want in your life and relationships.  There will always be compromise, especially in serious relationships but the boundaries we want to define will allow your partner to know your ground rules.  You can discover this by thinking back to situations that have made you mad, uncomfortable, or created resentment.  I don’t know anyone that entered a relationship and wanted it to be miserable or to fail.  The reason they fail is we weren’t clear with our personal boundaries.

Communicate Those Boundaries

Looking at the best relationships (my parents have been married over 50 years), it wasn’t that they got lucky.  They communicated what was important to them and respected one another’s personal boundaries.  Using the word, no, is as important, if not more important, than saying yes.  Every time that you say yes, you are effectively saying no to something else.  People cannot read your mind so if a line has been crossed, stay calm and explain to them how they overstepped their bounds.  The communication piece will lead to clear understanding of the expectations you have of one another and allow for mutual respect.

Evaluate the Boundaries

Life is ever changing, and we are constantly evolving as human beings.  That means that your boundaries can change too.  They don’t have to but it’s certainly worth looking at.  In the beginning of a relationship, trust hasn’t been earned and you may not feel comfortable talking about certain things.  If your boundaries have shifted, take the time to communicate those changes so your partner knows the new established rules.

Setting boundaries is a healthy learned skill that will improve over time.  The better you know yourself, the better someone else can know how to interact and love you as well.  The biggest mistake that I have personally made is assuming that someone knows my boundaries.  You know the saying, “if you assume, you make an ass out of you and me”.  Spend some time to define, communicate, and then evaluate your boundaries.  Your relationships will be more fulfilling, and you will be much happier!  To hear more on how to set proper boundaries check out the Let’s Go Win podcast.

– JM Ryerson

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