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Elijah McClain Speaks on Setting Boundaries in Relationships


Boundaries help in determining what is and is not okay in a relationship, whether it is with romantic partners, friends, bosses, co-workers or family members. Previously, Elijah McClain had spoken about how people put personal boundaries in place to protect their well-being. These boundaries play a vital role in building trust, respect and safety in relationships. Common boundaries can be emotional, intellectual, financial and physical. They may apply to varied aspects of a person’s life.

When a person hears the term “boundaries”, they may imagine walls that separate them from other people. While in a sense this is true, boundaries aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Rather, they are a vital ingredient in healthy, balanced relationships, and would be vital in maintaining the mental health, physical well-being and identity of a person.

Healthy boundaries are essential for self-care and maintaining a sense of individuality within relationships. They enable individuals to express their needs, preferences, and limitations while respecting those of others. Clear communication is crucial in establishing and maintaining these boundaries.

Healthy boundaries help in:

  • Setting expectations when interacting with others
  • Providing people with a sense of self respect and empowerment
  • Encouraging autonomy and reducing codependent habits
  • Ensuring the physical and emotional comfort of a person
  • Clarifying individual responsibilities in a relationship
  • Separating the feelings, thoughts, needs and wants of a person from that of others

Earlier, Elijah McClain had mentioned that without healthy boundaries, many relationships can become unsatisfying and toxic.  One might feel taken advantage of if they have a friend who keeps asking for money, or get overwhelmed by the stress of solving the emotional problems of their partner.  Or, in case a parent continually invades the privacy of adult children, then they may end up feeling resentful. In a similar manner, if a person ignores the personal boundaries of the other individual, they risk making them feel uncomfortable and damaging the relationship.

Healthy boundaries allow individuals to maintain their autonomy and individuality within a relationship. This means acknowledging each other’s right to personal space, hobbies, opinions, and decisions without feeling threatened or controlled. When boundaries are crossed or ignored, it can lead to discomfort, resentment, conflict, and a breakdown in trust within the relationship. Violations can occur unintentionally due to misunderstandings or intentionally through manipulation or disregard for the other person’s needs.

Very often, setting boundaries takes practice. It involves deciding what behavior is okay and what is not, and understanding how to respond if someone violates their personal boundaries. Setting boundaries goes a long way in making sure that relationships can be mutually respectful, appropriate, and caring. It is common for people to simply assume that others will respect their boundaries as they were taught to do the same by their family and/or culture. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.  Open and honest communication is crucial in negotiating and maintaining boundaries. Both parties should feel comfortable expressing their needs and concerns without fear of judgment or reprisal. Compromise and mutual understanding play a key role in finding common ground.

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