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Set Boundaries to Build Trust

I’m endlessly fascinated by what it means to set boundaries, both from the intent to self-protect, AND from the intent to build healthier, more honest, and more meaningful relationships.

My latest musings bring me to several conclusions, one of which is that we set boundaries to build trust.

When someone respects a boundary, it makes them – and us – feel safe. It feels like the other person trusts you enough to know what’s best for you, and it feels like they are confident enough to know that your boundary isn’t intended to push them away or to reject them.

Guys… whoa. Right?

Don’t we all want to be surrounded by confident people we can trust?

Don’t we want to know where we stand with other people, and not walk on eggshells around them or constantly be trying to win their affection?

And know that they will take what we say seriously and not disrespect or dismiss our words as if we don’t know what we need?

Set boundaries so those around you can know and trust what to expect of your exchanges. Respect boundaries so those around you know you’re a safe space for them.

How has this shown up in your relationships?

Comments 2

  1. I had asked the question innocently, out of curiosity, almost absentmindedly, as morning light caressed my eyes and sleep lifted from my mind. And yet, we were deep into a tense, important conversation by 7am. Still wrapped up in the sheets.

    We were sharing our independent visions for the relationship. Discussing in detail what we needed to feel good about our future together. Mostly in alignment, it should have been a light, breezy chat full of love and cuddles.

    Instead, every statement carried a sharp edge to it, leaving me feeling wounded and confused. The words were clear, but the conversation felt murky, and I was losing our common thread.

    Floundering for the right words, for any words that would make it all make sense, I felt the connection snap while loneliness took its place. Strangely, the true problem became clear to me in that instant.

    While giving me bits and pieces of what he wanted, he was trying to define my vision for me. Giving me shoulds and shouldn’ts, timelines and conditions.

    He was hiding himself, and trying to expose me.

    My anger rose swiftly, and without thinking the boundary bubbled out of me in my moment of clarity.

    “What I want and when I want it is for me to decide.”

    It snapped him out of the tension, like a vice loosened. Immediately, he understood and responded with active respect. The conversation lost the bitter edge of tension, we reconnected as partners, my loneliness gone. We closed on a beautiful note of practicing partnership as equals.

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