Friday, May 24, 2013

5 Strong Boundaries for Personal Relationships

I was inspired to write this article by Natalie Lue over at Baggage Reclaim. I was also inspired by my own personal experiences as I grow from weakness to strength in my relationships with others more and more each day. One of the benefits of learning to love yourself manually is that you can see the process backwards and record your steps for others to follow if they wish to know how you got to where you are. That's what I'm doing here. In learning to love myself, I've implemented these 5 Strong Boundaries for Personal Relationships.

1. I will not wait for anyone. 

I made up my mind on this one a few years ago. I decided that I would no longer pine or dwell on someone who wasn't there for me in a way that I needed them to be. The moment someone shows me that they cannot be what I need, I've learned to DETACH and LET GO immediately. This doesn't mean that I am rude or unforgiving, but, it does mean that I no longer hang on to hope and allow leakage of my emotional reserves on someone who is not reciprocating in kind.

I've learned the hard  way that waiting on another person to "come to their senses" and give me what I need is counterproductive. You will never get what you want by trying to get it from someone who is not giving it to you. This activity is futile and it is a form of "Repetition Compulsion." Perhaps you're trying to win love of someone who never fully loved you as a child, or perhaps you still have unmet needs left over from childhood that need to be addressed. Either way, it's better to face the original source of the issue instead of projecting it onto a third party and trying to get love that ain't there. It's akin to barking up the wrong tree...

2. I will not maintain an unequal relationship.

I've made a commitment to myself to remove myself from all unequal relationships. Before I started the recovery and healing process of learning how to love myself, I was involved in myriad relationships that were unhealthy and toxic. Perhaps these people are capable of healthy relationships, but based on my lack of boundaries, their interaction with me was toxic. Other people I was involved with were simply selfish and incapable of ever treating me with the respect I deserve. On all accounts, I removed myself from the relationships which I could not maintain equality, or did not feel 100% respected, honored and appreciated.

A relationship is give-and-take. Friendships and dating relationships involve two people who are free to be themselves without hiding, shame or fear. A healthy relationship involves two people who take turns being there for one another, and who respect what each has to say without putting expectations on one another's feelings. A healthy relationship gives both parties room and freedom to express your respective realities without judgment.

If you don't have the freedom to be you and enjoy the mutuality of the friendship, then you do not have a friendship to begin with... You are operating from a one-down position, as if the other person's needs are more important than yours. I've learned to steer clear of these types of people, no matter how badly it hurts. I know I am valuable and I would rather go without a friend than to have a pretend friend who doesn't listen to me, hear me or respect me.

3. I will not idealize any other person.

It is easy to fall into the trap of idealizing others, especially when you're working on becoming a more secure person yourself. Idealizing another person is the process of infusing them with the fantasy of who you want them to be, who you need them to be... When you idealize others, you put them up on a pedestal. You think they are higher than you, above you, greater-than, more desirable and more worthy than you. This is what idealization is all about. It is pure fantasy because the truth is that we are all inherently worthy.

Here's another thought about why we idealize people when we're struggling with our own insecurities and/or low self-esteem... Idealizing another person is the process of projecting the good qualities in yourself onto someone else and gauging your worth and value on whether the idealized person accepts you or not. See how messed up this is? We cannot see our own goodness because we have a core belief that we are inherently flawed or worthless. Instead of owning our own goodness, we project it out onto another person. We then give THAT PERSON our power by giving that person the ability to make us feel elated (if they accept us) or worthless (if they reject us).

Either way, this is not true love and it's not healthy for anyone involved. It's not reality to idealize another person. We are all equal. If you have breath, you are inherently worthy. Only when you can function as an equal can you enjoy healthy, mutually rewarding relationships.

4. I will operate from my truth to the best of my ability at all times. 

It is important that we not contort our true and spontaneous responses (moderately) in order to be appropriate or to be correct, or to fit into the mold of someones expectations. If you have difficulty with maintaining high levels of self esteem, you may have a tendency to try to gain approval from outside sources. This means that everything you say, do, think or feel in your human interactions do is judged and mulled-over in real time as to the acceptability of said expression of your reality.

When I was a child, I went through some pretty rough discipline from my step father. As adult, there was residue of this in my day-to-day interactions with others. Just like I tried to please my step father, and tried to refrain from stepping on his toes, I found myself doing this as an adult too. I've had to teach myself to be who I am in all circumstances, without fear of rejection or disapproval. I have the right to be me and express how I feel and who I am (moderately) at all times, regardless of whether it is "right" or not.

5. I will assert myself against disrespect. 

It is disrespectful to continually text another person or reach out to someone via text, email or chat without trying to connect with that person in a more real and tangible way. This is especially true for dating relationships. If a guy does nothing but text me all the time, then I am not going to be available for that. I deserve more than that and so do you.

Disrespect comes in a variety of forms. People in your life will disrespect you if they feel that you will tolerate it. Even the sweetest people in the world will treat you like crap if you're too weak or too clueless to realize what's happening.

People who disrespect you may give excuses for their behavior, ie lack of time, work, family. Don't buy it. You are worthy of respect.

When you are disrespected, you feel it. You may feel victimized. Whenever I feel disrespected in any way, the moment I catch it, I've made it a habit to speak up assertively and express my reality to the person who is harming me. In some cases, it will do no good to speak up or set a boundary so your only option is to withdraw from the relationship. Other times, however, you assert yourself by demanding respect and the other party will actually end up respecting you. This is my preferred outcome. It's best to set boundaries and to be respected than to walk away, but sometimes walking away is the best option for justice to your soul.

There you have it. My personal boundaries for personal relationships. These are essential for maintaining your integrity and positioning yourself to be able to give and receive within a healthy relationship. What about you? Do you have issues with any of these boundaries? How so? Have you overcome these things in your own life? If so, I'd like to hear from you. Leave me a comment in the comment section below.

Talk to ya soon!

Jenna Ryan


  1. Best advice I have seen. I am going to print this out for my daughter.

  2. Thanks so much, Sandra! That means a lot to me. Please sign-up to receive an email notification of new posts, and comment in the future. I'm trying to get this blog going, and to get people talking here..