We hear a lot about boundaries. Boundaries help us create safe spaces and maintain mental wellness. Boundaries can give us peace of mind.
They represent the space we maintain between ourselves and the people in our lives.
Boundaries go beyond maintaining distance, they also let us keep people close for healthy, long-term relationships.
It is vital to know where “I” end and “you” begin for the people in the relationship to feel connected, safe, and seen.
WITH OUR PARTNERS
Keeping boundaries in our closest relationships can feel difficult. After all, you want your partner to be close to you. You want to know that they care about your feelings and mood.
However, there is a difference between noticing and being attuned to your partner’s moods and taking it on as your own. For example, your partner may have had a rough day at work.
They come home upset and tired. They may want to vent. It can be hard to listen, and accept their mood, without letting it become your own mood.
That can feel like a conflict. Can I be there for my partner, even if I am not feeling the same way? It can feel like a choice between your feelings and their emotions. If you end up setting aside your own feelings on a regular basis, this could lead to resentment.
One skill that is helpful when faced with that kind of situation is the ability to validate. When we validate someone else’s feelings, we offer them the gift of being seen and feeling heard.
Sometimes this can feel scary. Validation can feel like agreement.
It is important to note that just because you can understand and even empathize with someone’s feelings, that does not mean you agree with them.
It means you see where they are coming from and what they are experiencing.
It means you understand.
VALIDATION AS A KEY SKILL
Validation is key to showing up for our partners while maintaining an awareness that we are not the same person.
It can go a long way towards setting up a healthy relationship with enough space for each person to have their own feelings, while also feeling supported.
READY FOR A CHANGE?
If you are ready to make a change and start seeing a professional who understands these relationship dynamics and couple’s therapy, we are here for you at the Center for Intimacy Connection and Change, located right outside Baltimore.
We are committed to providing the highest quality services to help you establish the wellness you deserve.