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Boundaries, not Barriers

In a 2018 study, 23% of people said they had been ghosted by a romantic partner and 40% said they had been ghosted by a friend. These are barriers people put up that just lock people out. Odds are, that at one point these friends and romantic partners said they ‘loved’ the other person.

Love. What does it require of me? What should it look like? If I no longer want to be in a relationship, for whatever reason, how do I communicate that, especially if I am afraid? If I set boundaries with someone, am I acting selfishly instead of lovingly? It is important to recognize that genuine love is holistic, meaning it places value not only on the physical aspect of the relationship or person, but on the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects as well. You may be familiar with the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. We can think of this as the baseline, or starting point, for how one ought to show holistic love to another human. If that is the starting point, then it also represents the boundary that we should try to keep in place, in how we choose to communicate, confront, forgive, and how we expect to be treated. Now, obviously, because people are human, we make mistakes. None of us live by our principles perfectly 24/7, but that does not mean we should throw our principles or reasonable expectations and boundaries out the window. If someone is treating us in a way that is inconsistent with this baseline principle of love, we need to address it in a way that communicates we love ourselves as well. Within a loving relationship, these two principles should not be at odds - loving ourselves and loving others according to the Golden Rule. If two people operate under this principle, then much can be worked through. Sadly, sometimes people experience things in life where their personal boundaries have not been respected, but instead those boundaries have been violated. That can happen many different ways through no fault of our own. I want to tell you that, no one has the right to do that. For those who have experienced a violation of their boundaries, physically or otherwise, it can be valuable for us to discover our right to establish healthy boundaries within relationships. Here are some guidelines for establishing boundaries in relationship:

  1. Know that boundaries are healthy. They help you define your needs, your values, and the best path toward a healthy relationship.

  2. Both people should be honest about what they need, and be respectful of the needs of the other.

  3. Communicate when you need space. Ghosting is not communicating. It’s a barrier to communication, not a boundary. Respect the person enough to know what they can expect from you, as you seek to also meet your own needs.

  4. Communicate with respect, and ask for the same in return - Golden Rule living.

  5. When someone constantly disrespects boundaries, that is when it may be time to put some barriers in place as you seek to break free from unhealthy, toxic, or abusive relationships.

The information on this website is intended for general education purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.

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