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Building constructive relationships

Human beings are social creatures and relationships are important for us. Since everyone is unique and has their own qualities, finding common ground and building healthy relationships become a little complex, maintaining them even more so.

Whether it is a private or professional relationship, there is a common space that we interact and grow the relationship together and there is also our personal space we are keeping for ourselves.

Boundaries between those spaces are not always clearly defined. One, because as there are endless ways that we interact, there are endless boundaries to set. Besides, we do not want to be the guard of our boundaries all the time, we would like to enjoy our relationship. 

It is easier to let other people know when they are entering our personal space, rather than creating a list of everything they should or should not do in the relationship. 

One of the areas that people are struggling with, is to control the actions of the other person in the relationship. There are times that the other person’s attitude violates the personal space them and this creates anger and frustration. Therefore the relationship with their spouse, kids, friends, colleagues, or boss can then sometimes be quite difficult to handle. If they are not prepared, their immediate reaction will be from the negative feelings and that is not going to give them the results they want in the relationship, rather it will make things even more complicated. 

We have already talked about in my earlier blog post, “Let people be who they are”, people decide how they want to act regardless of our expectations or our personal space. Therefore we need to stay intact and focus on ourselves rather than changing the other person’s attitude.

Relationships at work for example. Imagine you are set to solve a crisis at work. You are quite driven towards the goal and putting your best effort to successfully end the crisis. On the other hand, your boss is not happy with your progress so far and making degrading comments about your performance in front of other people. For many of you, this means they are entering your personal space and crossing your boundaries. This may inflict negative emotions and your reaction would come from that negative state of mind. The consequences of any action coming from a negative state would not be constructive for anyone.

But if you cannot control other people’s actions, how can you create a healthy relationship with this person?

There is another way to keep the relationship continue and approach these kinds of situations in a constructive way. That is communicating our boundaries with the other person.

We cannot control other people’s actions but we can control ours. Our actions in our relationships are defining our boundaries with other people. Boundaries are invisible lines that we are creating between the other person and ourselves in order to create sustainable and caring relationships. These are reminders to the other person and showing them our terms in the relationship. Once they understand our boundaries, then they have to decide if they would like to act differently to stay in the relationship or otherwise. 

There are 2 key features of communicating boundaries;

1- They are set from a place of positive emotions. The idea is not to punish the other person for their actions.

2- There is a certain action you take when your boundary is crossed. 

Regarding the example I gave above, how would you handle that situation if you would know how to communicate your boundaries with the other person?

Let me know your thoughts on this in the comment section below and share this post with people you believe they will benefit from.

Have a great day!

Ferruh Tumer

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