Come in . . . but keep out?
All relationships should have boundaries. But the boundaries we set often say more about us than they do others--those we want, expect, and require to respect and adhere to the boundaries we set. But as necessary as boundaries may be, is it necessary that we constantly announce to the world that we have them and how high, how long, and how wide they are? In an age with so much talk about relationships, at times, it seems like there's more about how not to have relationships than about how to. Social media is filled with posts, tweets, and memes on how to walk away from and end relationships, how to get rid of people out of your life, or who not to allow into your life. Is there a time and a place when and where this might be necessary? Absolutely! But if we spend more time focused on how not to have relationships than on how to have them, we may end up with none. Healthy boundaries are to let others know when and where we can dwell together and, as necessary, when and where we cannot. So, in essence, within relationships, setting borders should appreciate and promote the space we can share, not the lines you better not cross and the spaces you're not allowed to enter.
If I invite you into my home for dinner, I'm going to welcome you in and make you feel comfortable. I'm not going to welcome you in and then direct your attention to all of the "Do not Enter" signs I've placed around my house so that you don't trespass. I'm not going to put up signs because I'm not expecting you to wander around my house into the bedrooms, private bathrooms, and other places outside of the common areas where I host and entertain my guests, and it's perfectly reasonable of me to expect you to know this. Besides, wouldn't you find that confusing? With one hand, I'm beckoning you to come in, but with the other, I'm holding up a stop sign telling you to keep out. I would want you to relax and feel free to enjoy yourself without making you feel like you're in a prison. If you do happen to wander into private areas where I didn't expect you to go, there's no need for me to be abrupt and extreme by putting you out for trespassing. I would just redirect you back to the space in my house that I would like to share with you. If I were to put you out, that would speak more to my inability to graciously host you and steer you back within the borders of where we can hang out together and, hopefully, continue to enjoy each other's company.
Now, I know there are plenty of examples that could justify doing the very thing I'm suggesting we not do. But what's the point here? The point is that, in general, why not focus more on how to receive, welcome, and accept others, even when they don't make it easy to do so? After all, let's remember that some people in our lives receive, welcome, and accept us, in spite of how difficult we may sometimes be and in spite of the boundaries we may sometimes cross. A key to building great relationships is not by cutting people off and running away the moment they do or say something against our preference, but it's being able to build in spite of what they do and say against our preference. Never forget that even the loveliest of roses have thorns. So, let's not deprive ourselves of the loveliness of others just because we don't know how to deal with the thorns.
Like you, Katrina loves seeing people in healthy relationships (with themselves and others) that they genuinely enjoy and not just simply tolerate. This blog is dedicated to achieving that vision.
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