Having healthy boundaries means that an individual has established visibly defined limits to the types of behavior by others (partners, children, colleagues, friends, etc.), which he/she considers permissible, and to clearly indicate the kinds of consequences that will befall the perpetrator, should those boundaries be ignored or violated.
So what does that mean?
It means you place a value on yourself. It means you honor yourself. It means you hold yourself in such high esteem, that you would “do” this for yourself.
Having established a boundary, a consequence merely says, “If you do not respect this boundary that I have established, then this will happen.” Boundaries need not be harsh or resemble an ultimatum, but they might have to, depending on the circumstances, as these examples indicate:
- To a spouse if both work: If you do not do the marketing, I will not have time to cook dinner and we will have to eat sandwiches (this should only apply if you like sandwiches and the other person does not…because consequences are not meant to cause you problems or difficulties, only the other person…see the next example in this sense as well)
- To an older teenage son or daughter: When you smoke marijuana in this house, you place us at legal risk and it is a fire hazard, so if you do it again, you will not be allowed to use the car for one month, but since I will not be able to drive you around, you will have to walk or use public transportation. If after that time you use marijuana again, it may happen we will need to consider whether you may continue to live in this house .
- To a person you are dating: When you phone me at the last minute without having previously made plans with me, expecting me to drop everything in order to see you, it makes me feel as though I have no importance in your eyes, so if you do it again, I will not be available to see you.
- From one woman to another: When you dump me two hours before a dinner date with me in order to go on a date with a man who has just given you a last-minute call, you make me feel as though you do not value our friendship, so if you do that again, I will have to re-think our relationship
- To a chronically late employee: When you arrive late, you make the entire production line lose time, so if you continue to do it, I will begin to dock your pay by half hour increments. If it is then repeated, you will lose your job.
- To a partner who lies: When you lie to me, I feel as though you place no importance on my feelings, so if you do that again, I will want a trial separation from you.
- To an emotionally abusive partner: When you do such-and-such, it is very hurtful to me, so if you behave like that again, I will have to remove myself from this relationship
Basic Tenets of Boundaries
Don’t forget the basic tenet of establishing boundaries: if consequences are not set up, then there is no boundary. However, you might want to explain your feelings to the other person first, as in these examples, in order that he/she understands what the specific behavior does to you, your family, your health, your safety, your business, etc.
Do Unto Others…
Setting boundaries is one of the first steps to psychological health because by doing this, you are clearly telling yourself that you are loved (by yourself), that you are worth it, and that you will not allow others to do unto you, as you would (hopefully) not do unto them…
Note: If you are wondering why this blog only appears on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is Rewiring the Soul, so named for my earlier book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.
For much more about healthy boundaries in relationships, and how this awareness can help us to move towards spiritual partnership and inner peace, see my new book The Tao of Spiritual Partnership which is now available in paperback format. (The Kindle version is now available here)
To download the first chapter, click here
From the Description on Amazon: More exciting than any other kind of relationship you have ever known, spiritual partnership is a path, a Tao, available to you so that you may transform your life. Spiritual partnership becomes background music to daily life allowing you to enhance the process of your growth and evolution.
This ground-breaking book addresses:
• relationship patterns that hold you back from a truly fulfilled life
• the strong connection between sexuality and spiritual partnership
• communication leading to true connection & lasting transformation of your relationship
It is precisely at the problematic crossroads so often encountered in relationships that we are offered the opportunity to create a new foundation based on mutual complementarity rather than need; a free relationship between two people who want to be together, rather than two people who need to be together. Needing another, we are told, is the measure of love, but for a fully conscious individual nothing could be further from the truth. And therein lies part of the secret and healing power of spiritual partnerships.
Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership
“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come."
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of Time is an Illusion and Ecstasy is a New Frequency
REWIRING THE SOUL
For more about understanding the self and inner growth, also have a look at my earlier book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self (paperback or Kindle).
To download the first chapter, click here
From the Description on Amazon: Ask anyone, whatever their circumstances, if their life is vibrant, fulfilling, harmonious and happy. An honest reply is likely to be 'no', because to answer a truthful 'yes' is no mean feat. Only to grow psychologically and emotionally is not enough. And only to grow spiritually is not enough either. All three dimensions need to be developed in order to realize your full potential. If you are willing to assume total responsibility for the self and to start what is an on-going journey, you will quickly begin to glimpse the first fruits of the ultimate goal: inner well-being, freedom, peace, harmony and joy. This book sets out the pathway to self-mastery and self-discovery and walking that pathway will be the most exciting adventure of your life.