Once we’ve lived with toxic relationships, we start to get a sense of what healthy boundaries would look like for us in more nurturing, supportive, compassionate relationships. We learn from all of the difficult experiences we’ve had. We’ve felt that our boundaries were not respected, and we felt mistreated by the people we cared about. We’ve felt unable to assert our needs or set boundaries, sometimes because we’re insecure and don’t feel strong enough or self-loving enough to stand up for ourselves. We might never have given thought to what boundaries we should put into place, because we haven’t been able to connect with ourselves to understand what our needs and desires are. We don’t know what we want out of life or out of our relationships, so our understanding of our needs and our boundaries is limited. What do healthy boundaries look like?
Each of us has unique emotional needs that impact how we live and how we function in our relationships. What is acceptable for one person won’t necessarily be acceptable for someone else. We can define healthy boundaries for ourselves by focusing on the idea of respect. Healthy boundaries empower us to respect ourselves and to be respected by others. They give the people in our lives a clear understanding of what we feel, need, deserve and expect from them in order to have a healthy relationship. Boundaries help us stay accountable to ourselves and each other about how we’re treating each other, how we’re showing up for each other, and whether or not we’re actively contributing to the health of the relationship.
When we don’t respect ourselves, we often have weak boundaries or no boundaries at all. We let people walk all over us. We’re easily misled, deceived, manipulated, controlled and coerced. We might find ourselves doing things we’re not happy about and that we regret, as part of our addictive patterns but also because we don’t have the necessary boundaries in place to make sure we’re treating ourselves well and being treated well. We haven’t figured out what boundaries we need in order keep ourselves on track with our larger goals.
Healthy boundaries empower us to embody respect for ourselves in our daily lives and within our relationships. They allow us to feel safe and comfortable. They help us to feel strong, confident and empowered in our interpersonal relationships and dynamics. They allow us to feel as though we’re being heard, understood and appreciated. When we feel loved and respected, by ourselves and our loved ones, we’re much more aligned with the energy of healing that we need in order to recover.
Riverside Recovery believes in the importance of holistic healing and education, mindfulness and mind-body-spirit wellness. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information on our treatment programs.