Building healthy boundaries in relationships is hard work.
Recognizing your boundaries, creating space to establish them and maintaining the boundaries you have put in place is a process that requires attention, energy and an abundance of self-awareness. Especially when maintaining healthy relationships with the people we care about.
Why are boundaries essential to having healthy relationships?
Boundaries are the expectations and limitations that we create to keep ourselves safe within our relationships. Like a helpful shield, our boundaries create a protective barrier around us. When we think of creating boundaries to feel safe with others, we recognize that we need to consider our physical and emotional safety. Creating boundaries in relationships is necessary, often helpful, and when established in healthy relationships, are respected.
Every adult has past experiences, memories and moments in their lives that contributes to how they experience the world around them. Let’s call this collection of thoughts our “invisible luggage”.
Adults are going to work, making plans, interacting with loved ones and creating self-care plans with their invisible luggage behind them. Though it isn’t visible to others, our luggage can sometimes weigh us down or make us feel unorganized and overwhelmed.
Within this invisible luggage could be our past adversities, memories of unhealthy relationships and unpleasant thoughts from our past. In some instances, our invisible luggage could be seen as trauma. And this luggage can sometimes feel like a lot to carry.
Identifying, creating and maintaining our boundaries helps us all navigate the invisible luggage that each other carries.
We keep ourselves emotionally “safe” by seeing our boundaries through. In our relationships, we all may not know what all what someone else is carrying with them in their invisible luggage. Therefore, it is important for each of us to be mindful of what could compromise or “trigger” our own emotional safety.
It can be challenging to reflect on what triggers us, but it is helpful to notice what pushes us to quickly feeling scared, sad, angry or unsafe. Take note of what comes up for you when you feel triggered and what you would like to do about it.
What do you need to unpack in your “invisible luggage”?