Friendships Are The Best Ships: Boundaries

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I want to talk about boundaries; boundaries are the manifestation of knowing who you are and where you stand. Personally it has taken me awhile to understand this concept.  However having seen the positive effects they have had in my life, I am all for having and enforcing them.

Boundaries and vulnerability are important aspects of friendships which build you and your friends up.  Establishing and enforcing these boundaries will improve the quality of your friendships, especially the long lasting friendships.

I find I am forever hearing everyone talk about healthy boundaries and why we need them.  As it turns out “they” are right, good job guys! At first being a natural people pleaser made it pretty hard for me to understand why I needed boundaries. I recall being younger and being so worried about what was cool, what would make others happy, what would make the most people like me, and what would make me fit in with the people I idolized. Instead I should have been focusing on was WHO I WAS.

When we are not focused on our who we are, we lose ourselves in the storm of life because we are not anchored to anything. Being self aware is amazing skill to call on to anchor you, and I think self awareness is the number one step to creating healthy boundaries. These are the solid lines that define who we are and what crap we refuse to take. Having healthy boundaries is a way to facilitate integrity, stand up for ourselves and not be constantly drained by others. These boundaries are made and enforced by the real you, so dig deep and don’t be afraid to be your true self.  

Real friends will honor the real you.  I promise. 

One definition of boundaries is “The line that marks the limit of an area”.  I am sometimes violently aware of someone poking into my boundaries. With the job I have, healthy boundaries are a necessity.  

Frequently checking in with myself asking “Are you comfortable? Do you like this conversation? Do you want to be where you are?”, does not take long.  Having internal conversations that help you get to the root of an issue will simplify how you express and defend your boundaries. Yes, you heard me correctly, defend your boundaries.

Allowing us to stand up for ourselves even in our friendships.  This is a 30 second conversation that keeps you happy and comfortable in whatever situation you’re in.  Consciously checking in with your morals and being able to say “yes that is okay with me” or “no that is not for me” makes standing up for your boundaries easier every time. Having friends who understand and thank you for being honest encourages us to be more honest in our friendships.

Believe it or not healthy boundaries decrease the amount of conflict we have in our relationships. Being able to check in with yourself and your heart will get you  far in this life, it is a skill, I invite you should start practicing daily.  

I know that we can give, and give, and give until we're drained and have nothing left for ourselves.  It is important to understand that filling our cup and taking care of ourselves first makes it easier to maintain our boundaries. Boundaries are essential, they make our limits known,  therefore, we have to establish and demonstrate our boundaries to those around us.  Occasionally it can be hard to know what our boundaries are until they are crossed.  At some point we’ve started to think it is acceptable to push when we feel resistance from our friends instead of asking why that resistance (aka boundaries) exists in the first place. Boundaries are clear lines stating “this is me, and that is you”.  

In my opinion these lines make it permissible to take care of ourselves first. What you give to your friendships should be given freely, without hesitation and without pressure or feeling that you’re being taken advantage of.  If you feel that people are taking too much from you, you’re allowed to stop, you’re allowed to step back, and you’re allowed to re-establish your boundaries.  

I believe that all friendships are as unique as the people in them, and that’s what makes them so fun and fulfilling.  I am overwhelmed every time I connect with a friend on a topic that we are passionate about.  

I am completely honored when a friend shares profound moments of their journey with me. These things happen by being vulnerable and fostering healthy boundaries. Learning the intricacies of these two things takes time, practice and friends who support you.  If you are yearning for better friendships, or if you are desperate to feel peace in your friendships, you can have those things!  I believe in the glory of the grind, I always start with myself, by looking inside and having internal and honest conversations with numero uno.  

Knowing who you are and what you want can stop others from taking advantage of you.  Remember that boundaries and vulnerability create a stronger you. When you are strong your friendships are stronger.  If you are looking for a reason to implement boundaries and vulnerability into your life and didn’t know how I hope I have given you some tools to encourage you to improve your friendships.  

If you liked this article, I would love hearing all your feedback! Until next time my friends.

- Lyndsay Grace Xoxo