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Boundaries are one of the most important foundations of any relationship. No matter whether the connection is personal, business, or both, it is always good to establish guidelines for engagement with another person.
It is imperative for our mental health to show others how we expect to be treated and, even more importantly, treat people the way we want to be treated. Growing up in East New York, Brooklyn, taught me a lot about boundaries, although the manner in which most established them whereby ways of violence or verbal onslaughts of words meant to intimidate and injure. There are unfortunate scenarios where self-defense and violence may be the only way to establish and protect your boundaries, and those situations are very real. We aren’t discussing those situations, as there are many times when a person finds themselves in unhealthy relationships that require a different non-violent but nonetheless determined approach.
The first step to establishing healthy boundaries is to take a serious look at yourself and see if you are someone who operates in unhealthy ways with people in your life. It is quite often that the perpetrators justify their unhealthy behaviors and believe themselves to be victims. If you find that you are, get help by way of counseling, therapy, or religious authorities in your life.
It won’t be possible to have healthy barriers to ways of engagement with others in your life if you are not emotionally healthy yourself. At that point, you will be operating with a type of unhealthy aggression that may look like people are respecting your boundaries in a healthy way. Meanwhile, it’s actually fear and intimidation that circle you and being misread as a healthy respect and harmony from others.
There is a book called Emotional Intelligence 2.0 that I highly recommend. It can help you understand where you are and give tools to help you increase your emotional intelligence.
The best way to set up healthy emotional barriers is to increase your emotional intelligence yourself, and you will then naturally do the things to make sure you are operating with people in a healthy way and that people are respecting you and operating with you in a healthy and peaceful way.
Although you can’t control how someone operates with you, being emotionally healthy yourself will assist you in weighing the best course of action to ensure the best possible option of peace for your life.
Words by Kaba Abdul-Fattaah