The essential source of strength in a relationship is the act of being vulnerable. Boundaries are your personal insurance policy that allows you to open your heart to those that want to cherish it. Our psycho-emotional mechanisms create a measure of self-protection to preserve our well-being. Creating boundaries with that self-protective link to your heart and mind is not only a healthy expression of care, it is an expression of love.
Setting boundaries is a form of love. Boundaries are unequivocally essential to the health of all relationships. We need to be comfortable with speaking our truth, saying no and yes when appropriate and walking away entirely if the connection is unhealthy. These actions set a precedent of continuance in relationships by letting a person in your life know that you value and respect yourself. Your self-honoring care is also an example of how you will treat others in your life. When moments of personal exposure, frailty and vulnerability occur, you know that the support system in your life will participate willingly in empathizing with your struggles because you have commanded respect from them by treating them with respect.
Understanding the difference between healthy vulnerability and unhealthy vulnerability will also dictate the success of your relationships. Over sharing is not an act of vulnerability, it is a manipulation of it. Over sharing is a means of self-victimizing. It is a cry for help you may not even realize that you are making, with the subject matter leading the breadcrumb trail to your deepest shame. If over sharing is an issue, it is important to set boundaries with yourself by monitoring your choices of words and why you use them. Over sharers also have a tendency to make poor choices in listeners. Have discriminating taste in choosing confidantes. Share your heart with those that deserve to hear it. Trust is earned and its reward is mutual support.
Thread-bare love, no matter if it is romantic, friendly, or familial, is only a possibility when you have loved yourself first. Continue to make yourself a priority by working on understanding your core through your experiences and healing processes. Do not aim to please others in order to attain favor. Instead, utilize that energy to never settle for less than you deserve. Connect to an authentic support system that will accept your failures and successes by being equally supportive. Draw the line at naysayers, negative conversation, gossip and the tearing down of a person’s fragility or lifestyle preferences. Kindly disengage in conversations that lead down a negative spiral because of its toxic exposure. Teach your children the ways of kindness and inspire them to stand up for themselves by setting boundaries just like they saw you do so many times. Give your lover a open heart and a warm shoulder to cry on and celebrate his emotional awareness.
Such safety cannot be created without boundaries. There is a safety in knowing where the line is drawn and only you can say where that line is marked. It is okay to be afraid to share your deepest self with others. The courage you carry in the fullness of your emotions will empower you to be vulnerable and assertive (Yes, vulnerability includes asserting yourself)! It is time to redefine strength and power for the benefit of all relationships and the health of our world. Let us begin by drawing the line.