I am thinking about relationships and one of the first things that comes to mind is the issue of boundaries.
I am someone that needs to learn how to set boundaries and stick to them so I thought I would do a bit of research. This is what I have come up with.
This info is taken from a page by easton-snelgrove.com
They discuss Visible & Invisible Boundaries / physical & emotional:
•physical limits are marked by our skin.
•emotional limits by ~ age, roles, our relationships with those around us, our requirements for safety, our choices about how we want to be treated.
I set my physical boundary by choosing:
•who can touch me.
•how and when I am touched.
•I decided how close I'll let people come to me.
•Because I have a reverse gear as well as forward, I can back away from someone who invades my personal zone.
I set my emotional boundary by choosing how I'll let people treat me:
•set limits on what people can say to me;
•healthy, safe expressions of anger, or even rage by people I'm close to are very acceptable;
•inappropriate anger from an inappropriate person is not;
•I determine the range of personal comments I'll accept from others;
•stop sexual comments or remarks from men, e.g., sexist or racist jokes;
This is of course really obvious but I think being reminded and sometimes hearing this for the first time can be 'awakening'. In placing this within the issue of setting boundaries I can use it to think clearly how I can practically set boundaries and be polite but firm in telling people what I will and will not accept.
I also found this comment from joy2meu which I think is helpful on many levels:
The difference between setting a boundary in a healthy way and manipulating is: when we set a boundary we let go of the outcome."
I find this interesting because as we let go of outcomes we are actually allowing God to be in charge of outcomes. As caring Christians I think we often hope to 'be Christ' as we help are are part of peoples lives. But it becomes unhealthy because actually we are not setting boundaries and feel guilty if we try to set boundaries. Holding on to the fact that our boundaries need to be set for God to be able have control of the outcome is perhaps a just way of understanding the bigger picture.