draw the line

“Healthy relations don’t just happen, you put the work in to make them.” – Christina Garidi

And the hardest ones are those within our families, relationships and work. Many of my clients & friends struggle with this and I intimately know WHY. Because they mean so much to us & because we are habitually blind to our responsibility in making them healthy. They always were this way before we even knew it, right?!

I used to be a PLEASER. My mother has taught me that this was KINDNESS. It was not. The result was, that I used to let people walk all over me. And the worst thing was that they did not know they were hurting me. I felt weak and I used to put the blame on them. But do you see the pattern? I have set a precedent where I was not being AUTHENTIC…

I have become better in communicating my boundaries and rules of engagement. The people who cannot take advantage of me, use emotional blackmail or try to belittle me. Attempt to assert control? Maybe. If they are not willing to play a fair game, there is no healthy relationship there. I just notice and let go. In business especially this is god-sent!

So how do you create healthy relations? You heard it before. It’s called “setting boundaries”. Here is the work:

1) Stay in exchange. Communicate your situation, your intention and your choices – honestly.

2) Don’t expect approval / permission from the other side – yours is enough.

3) Give people options / choices that are feasible for you and them. You negotiate win-win (never put yourself nor the other person in a losing position). This may take several goes, give it time to get it right for both sides.

4) Be prepared to be challenged repeatedly by those who love you most. They will not get it and they will feel rejected. Teach them how to respect you without blame. Change takes time. Be generous and kind with your time to establish your new boundaries – the drama will come!!!

5) Say NO or de-commit from things that don’t work for you anymore. Being flakey on a bad deal is self-respect. You can say no and be compassionate towards the other person, remember they may not know something does not work for you.

6) Be consistent and don’t cave in on repeated relational transactions. If you do, you are back to square one. e.g. staying late at work because someone asks you to do something last minute or after work hours.

7) Learn to access your courage. None of the above will be easy. It will feel confrontational. If you don’t defend your relational boundaries, what’s on the line is your mental health and well-being.

8) You will lose unhealthy relationships from your life. Celebrate the space for new healthy relations!!!

Perhaps the most counter-intuitive truth I’ve learned from BrenĂ© Brown’s research is that the most generous / kind people are also those with the strongest boundaries, meaning they are crystal clear with others about what’s okay & what’s not okay.

With Love & Courage,

Christina G of Eudaimonia

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