Maintaining Healthy Boundaries in Relationships
*This newsletter is intended to offer information only and recognizes that individual issues may differ from those broad guidelines. Personal issues should be addressed within a therapeutic context with a professional familiar with the details of the problem. Copyright 2018 Simmonds Publications: 550 La Jolla Blvd., 306, La Jolla, CA 92037
A successful relationship is composed of two individuals- each with a clearly defined sense of her or his own identity. Without our own understanding of self, who we are, and what makes us unique, it is difficult to engage in the process of an ongoing relationship in a way that functions smoothly and enhances each of the partners. We need a sense of self in order to clearly communicate our needs and desires to our partner. When we have a strong conception of our own identity, we can appreciate and love those qualities in our partner that make him or her a unique person. When two people come together, each with a clear definition of her or his own individuality, the potential for intimacy and commitment can be astounding. The similarities between two people may bring them together, but their differences contribute to the growth, excitement, and mystery of their relationship.
One feature of a healthy sense of self is the way we understand and work with boundaries. Personal boundaries are the limits we set in relationships that allow us to protect ourselves. Boundaries come from having a good sense of our own self-worth. They make it possible for us to separate our own thoughts and feelings from those of others and to take responsibility for what we think, feel, and do. Boundaries allow us to rejoice in our own uniqueness. Intact boundaries are flexible- they allow us to get close to others when it is appropriate and to maintain our distance when we might be harmed by getting too close. Maintaining healthy boundaries in relationships protect us from abuse and pave the way to achieving true intimacy. They help us take care of ourselves.