Every relationship needs boundaries to be healthy and whole. Without limits, you’re going to keep putting everyone else’s feelings before your own and rarely ever say no which can lead to burnout and full-blown unhappiness. You may not know it, but setting up your own personal fences can do wonders for your well-being. Here are a few great and not-so-great things that happen to your relationships when you establish boundaries.
You become a better friend and partner. When you have limits in place, you won’t stretch yourself thin trying to accommodate everyone so you’ll have more energy to devote to the people you love. You’ll also be more respectful of their needs because you expect the same in return. Research shows that people without effective boundaries are more likely to violate the boundaries of others.
Your relationships will become more meaningful. Don’t be surprised if you lose a few people after you start enforcing boundaries. Some people are going to hate the fact that they can no longer take advantage of you or treat you however they like. But the ones who truly care about you will take it in stride and respect your limits. They’ll be happy to see you prioritizing yourself and making a change for the better.
You start trusting people more. Many people tie love and approval to pleasing others and they think others will get hurt or upset if they decide to set limits and they’re just not prepared to take that risk. This fear keeps you from being true in your relationships and expressing how y0u really feel because you don’t want them to leave you. When you establish boundaries, you finally start trusting others to handle your emotions without running away. More trust means stronger bonds.
People will treat you how you want to be treated. We’re all raised differently and we have varying expectations in relationships. This means that you often have to teach people to love you and treat your right. As you establish and enforce boundaries in your relationships, people will become more mindful of how they treat you because they know that there are certain things you won’t tolerate. They’ll think twice before they do something that might offend you.
Needy loved ones learn to stop using you as a crutch. Though their hearts may be in the right place, people can often be intrusive and step out of line. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of thinking you have to something for someone because they need reassurance or don’t have anyone else. It can feel noble and adorable in the beginning, but dealing with neediness soon becomes a drain. When you set boundaries on what you can or can’t do or allow, they quickly learn to find another way or back off.
You’re less stressed. Imagine a life without unnecessary obligations because you’ve stopped taking on more than you can handle by exercising your right to say no. When you’re not constantly allowing other people’s needs to control your behavior, you’ll stop being overwhelmed by your relationships. You’ll only take on problems that are truly deserving of your attention and won’t fall into the trap of ignoring your own needs. Boundaries help you respond more effectively to healthy demands on your energy and time.
You become more understanding. Setting boundaries begins with being compassionate towards yourself, knowing what you can tolerate, and expressing that to other people. You become more self-aware of the way you interact with others because you recognize the importance of enforcing healthy boundaries for yourself. This makes you more likely to accept other people’s limits and respect them.
There’s less room for anger and resentment. Without boundaries, you let people get away with things that are not okay. The more this happens, the more hateful and resentful of them you become because you feel they are stepping out of line and not being respectful of your needs. By establishing boundaries, you take back your own life and control and you can relate to people in ways that are mutually satisfying.
Your relationships become more honest. To establish clear and effective boundaries, you have to communicate what you can or cannot put up with. This means expressing your needs in a polite way and being transparent with people you interact with, rather than being quiet and expecting them to magically figure out and respect your limits. It might be uncomfortable at first, but it’ll teach you to communicate more freely with the people you love.
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