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Relationships and boundaries

Positive relationships, the boundaries within them and the energy that surrounds building existing and developing new relationships is paramount to living a life that you love and that loves you.

The great work that you put into your life balance, your goal setting, living your values and managing your thoughts can all be overturned should you be in toxic destructive relationships - friends, family, work colleagues and social acquaintances.

As I age I am choosing to build positive, healthy and productive relationships that encourage personal growth and longer lasting happiness for all involved. These positive relationships are not just 'fair weather' either, having support when times are tough is very important and builds mutual strength.

Your relationships - whether by necessity in family or by choice in friends - should foster a feeling of warmth, comfort, success and encouragement and I am also a firm believer that positive relationships give us a sense of belonging and help us identify with ourselves. But of course this all doesn't just happen, even though we think it does, we need to nurture relationships, set boundaries and live a life that attracts all of this good energy from every interaction you have.

Whilst misunderstandings can happen in any relationship and can lead to people being upset, hurt or confused you must set boundaries within each relationship to ensure that each party knows the values that each have and can respect these. Communication cannot be stressed enough with regard to outlining boundaries. Listening to understand is a wonderful skill.

All healthy relationships have boundaries. You may think that your partner or spouse should know what you want and need but if you don't communicate this clearly so that both parties listen to understand, this may not be the case. When boundaries are clear and defined this helps develop positive self-esteem in both parties.

In healthy relationships partners “ask permission, take one another’s feelings into account, show gratitude and respect differences in opinion, perspective and feelings.”

This is why communicating your boundaries clearly is key. But what does — and doesn’t — this look like?

Boundaries that don’t work

Using words and phrases like “You can never” or “You must always.” or threats like “If you aren’t home by 7 p.m. every night, I will ...,” or “If you don’t do X, I will ...” or creating double standards like “You are not allowed to do X, but I can do it when I please.” will spell doom for your relationship. No one can live up to these no matter how hard anyone tries.

Being clear about boundaries can feel alien in romantic relationships - you may just "expect" your partner to know and when he doesn't you mope around or get annoyed. Be clear and stop dropping hints and watering the seed - if may not work and you will be disappointed.

Being healthy around boundaries

No one has a crystal ball to see what you want, how you want it and when instead we need to communicate this. Setting healthy boundaries can be about sitting down and discussing each others boundaries but it is also about everyday issues like speaking up when you think you’re being disrespected and giving yourself time for your own interests - without feeling guilty.

Self awareness plays a big part in setting your boundaries. If you know what you like and don't like and know the values you hold dear and how you want to be treated in certain situations/occasions this goes a long way.

So, how can you be clearer in your boundary setting?

Say phrases that start with "I" and let the other party know what you want without being threatening. So instead of saying "You need to do X" try "I would appreciate it if you would do X". If you are setting boundaries about something that you have allowed to continue try the sandwich method of stating the criticism, a compliment then criticise - "I don't think the table looks good there, I'm so grateful you moved it when I asked however could you move it back 1 mtr, thank you".

Remember that no matter how big or small your boundaries are they are YOURS, they should not be devalued or seen as small or not serious. No matter what anyone thinks of your boundaries they should never be disrespected it COULD be a big deal for you or the other person.

Also, it is important that you are consistent with the boundaries you set for yourself. For example if your boundary is "I will not be controlled by my daughter" don't then say yes to your daughters requests when you know they are unreasonable. This sends mixed messages and confuses everyone - let alone damages your self esteem. Taking responsibility is your responsibility.

What if you always find it hard to be responsible and action your boundaries? Who in your relationships is the one not respecting these boundaries? Even when you have communicated them... What if your own positivity is being compromised from some relationships and these influence your consistency. The negativity that surrounds you maybe sapping your will and positivity. What do you do now -

1. Has this toxic relationship created negative thoughts in your head for example, even if you are an accepting and friendly person, if your toxic relationships have made you believe that you don’t deserve positive people in your life then you’re less likely to attract them.

Ask yourself whether you have any negative beliefs or assumptions about friendships and relationships, and work to change these thoughts and beliefs in order to draw more positive people towards you.

2. Clean out your relationship closet - Sometimes, we are tempted to hold onto old friendships and relationships that no longer serve us and only drag us down. To maximize your chances of meeting positive people and making solid connections, practice regular self-reflection about your relationships.

Look at it like taking out the garbage every week. Go through each relationship "room" (romantic, friendship, work colleague) and de-clutter it.

3. Be grateful - You can attract more positive people towards you if you’re constantly radiating positivity—help a friend, console a colleague, tell a stranger they have nice shoes, say thank you.

4. Know what you want - Be confident in what you want and keep visualising and manifesting. Remember you MUST feel this want from deep down. Just because you want something doesn't necessarily mean you get it... FEEL it!

5. Be confident - Don't be pushed around by toxic bullies. Take a stand and be confident. You know what you want to be treated like so don't fall short of yourself anymore.

6. Patience and Trust - Have some patience and trust in yourself and your values.

Remember Henry Ford's thought: "Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right."

Much love, Dawn