Setting Boundaries In Relationships: More Is Not Always Better…

Setting Boundaries In Relationships: More Is Not Always Better

Do you feel guilty saying no? Do you sometimes over-extend with folks and then have to pull back hard? Do you ever feel taken advantage of and then feel angry about it? You may want to try setting boundaries. Setting boundaries in relationships is good. It’s good for you AND it’s good for the relationship.  

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Reasons We’ve Hated Setting Boundaries

I used to believe that if a little of something was good, then more was even better right? Actually, it’s not always the case. I think I hesitated to set a boundary because I didn’t want to freeze a relationship in its tracks. I think I believed that setting a boundary was a cut-off. Now I think that it is a nicely outlined highway for the relationship to move along smoothly.

The second reason I hesitated setting boundaries is that I often just wanted MORE. I wanted the relationship in question to get bigger, better, deeper, more. I wanted peak experiences. I now know I don’t always have to look for a peak experience. Okay experiences are just fine too. There’s no rush; there will be many more along the large span of life and even in the longevity of this relationship.

Why Setting Boundaries is Healthy and Great for All Involved

There are quite a few reasons boundaries are healthy. To name just a few: it’s good for you and your inner spirit; your inner spirit who is an inner child but also that timeless whole that is you and your spirit combined. Your inner child will learn to trust you and believe you if you don’t overextend and over-give when she feels scared or doesn’t want to. Every time you do that your inner child, he or she balks, feels hurt that you betrayed her and it creates a rift between yourselves.

If it’s hard for you to do it for yourself, then consider the argument that it’s better for the relationship as a whole to set a boundary. It’s better for you and all parties involved to set a boundary even if it feels uncomfortable. Think about the situation carefully when you are calm and clear and if you feel most authentic with that boundary in place, then find a simple way to state it. Speak a short statement or compose a written one if it’s appropriate and makes more sense in the situation. Set the boundary, then get out of there.

Do not over-explain. Remember you are new to this, so just get a few ‘boundary settings’ under your belt. Avoid the temptation to backpedal or assuage the other party. Just set the boundary and live on. Why is it better for the relationship? When you over-give or overextend and you feel uncomfortable or secretly unhappy about it, you alienate yourself and disconnect from yourself. Next time you see that person, you will not be your true genuine self when you interact with them because you twisted into an unnatural shape to accommodate them. And they may not even want you to do this! It may be a misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

So you may give them the “courtesy” of doing something you don’t want to do or being a way that you do not want to be; but you’ve taken away their ability to now connect with the real, authentic you. It’s not worth it, for either of you. And also, let’s be real: if you wanted to set a boundary but did not, some part of you is pissed and resentful. Even if you say it definitely will not, some of that resentment will leak out into the relationship.  

“More” is Not What You Thought It Was

And more is not always better. We live today in a shiny, fast-moving world of improvement and advancement: bigger, better, smarter, faster, more. It’s beautiful in a way. We are becoming more interconnected as we reach further and connect with others who before seemed alien to us. We help each other more in some ways. But there is still something to be said for being quiet and private and letting the small voice inside be heard. So still the din, stop trying to maximize every relationship and make it “perfect” or more or deeper. Say connected to the inner voice, be quiet, listen to what the voice truly wants and set boundaries as you go along. Then you will be able to connect with others that are listening to their true voice too.  

Not setting boundaries is living in a free-for-all. You don’t want to live there.


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Tiffany Rawson-Ahern

Tiffany Rawson-Ahern is a writer, yogini, avid walker and lover of nature and all things furry. She lives in Connecticut…

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