In conversations over the years a good friend of mine has routinely said that she desires a relationship with someone who isn’t afraid to “get in the ring” with her. Someone who will call her on her shit when she deserves it, and who will put on the gloves to protect themselves from being knocked around. Someone who (when necessary) will stand up and fight because they know who they are and what they deserve.
For much of my life, I was not that person.
Before we are able to get into the ring with someone we have to have confidence in ourselves as a fighter.
I was once someone who freely admitted I did not like confrontation. Over the years I have learned that confrontation – when practiced and done skillfully – is one of the healthiest things anyone can do for building trust within a relationship. I’ve learned that conflict and disagreement can co-exist with love and compassion. Most importantly, I’ve learned that building the body of a fighter who can step into the ring with anyone involves understanding what it means to set and hold boundaries. Without them, the hits will keep coming and getting knocked out is inevitable.
We often fail to set boundaries for fear for hurting someone’s feelings, never realizing that our failure to set boundaries eventually results in lasting harm – either to ourselves, the relationship, or both.
Hurts will heal, but harm endures.
Assuming that others should know our boundaries sets them up for failure. People don’t know where our boundaries lie until we tell them or show them, and most folks won’t respect our boundaries until we do.
We tend to think of boundaries as restrictive, but in reality boundaries are limits that promote integrity in our lives. Setting them allows us to live with greater energy and intention and we get to draw the lines in any area we choose; with our family, friends, partners, co-workers, strangers… in conversations, in relation to our bodies or to experiences or emotions… the list is endless.
If you’ve yet to set boundaries in an area of your life for fear of hurting someone, please consider the harm it may cause by failing to do so.
Remember: The only people who get upset when you set boundaries are those who benefited from you having none.
Setting boundaries can be challenging, but it is absolutely worth it!
May you cultivate the ability to step into any ring with confidence and fight skillfully and passionately for our own integrity.
P.S. If you could use some help with your training, please reach out.