By Staci Bartley

Love and Pain

We are becoming lonelier and more heartbroken as a society because we run from being in relationship with others. Some of us run because we think that if we can avoid the feelings of love, we can avoid the pain we believe is sure to come once the connection fades away. 

“It always does!”, we profess.

We are fearful of the pain that love sometimes brings.

For others, we let go of everything that is an expression of self, as a way of ensuring the relationship will last forever.  We convince ourselves that if we can just give up all that is important to us and focus on “them,” the relationship will finally work out!  We commit ourselves to no longer speaking up or rocking the boat.

“After all,” we say to ourselves, “what I need is my partner; everything else is unimportant!”

In both scenarios, struggles like these come about because of a lack of understanding about how relationships really work, and the importance of our personal boundaries. Both options leave us feeling alone, empty, depleted, and a personal hot mess! And, might I add, devoid of the feelings of connection we so long for!

Are Boundaries Healthy?

Please know that—

“Boundaries are a part of self-care. They are healthy, normal, and necessary.”-Doreen Virtue

For me, I was a bonafide “people pleaser” in my earlier years, and became a runaway bride after that because of the pain of divorce and a broken heart. I have lived both scenarios: letting go of my own needs and wants in a relationship, and then running from love to avoid the pain. How about you?

It is not until we learn how to create boundaries for ourselves that things can begin to change.  

When you can establish a personal boundary, you can finally love with ALL your heart, not just a piece!

What is an Emotional Boundary?

You might be asking right now, “What is an emotional boundary anyway?”  

My simplified answer is this: 

A boundary is where “I” end and “you” begin.

To understand this, Let’s take our physical bodies as an example. Most of us are clear on our physical boundaries… My arm, your arm, my leg, your leg…my lips, your lips. When there is pain, or something or someone who is causing discomfort with our physical bodies, we most often express it, and then take bold action if necessary, to stop the discomfort ASAP. 

Where it gets tricky is when we bring our emotional boundaries into the mix.  Our emotional boundaries tend to get jumbled together, and the clarity about where “mine” end and where “yours” begins quickly becomes a confusing and often contentious, painful experience. 

When we are in relationships with others, very often we take the responsibility for the emotions and actions of others, and expect them to do the same for us. Many of us have been taught that this is love and the purpose of relationships. 

You need to know that this is not love, this is co-dependence, and it is sure to extinguish the love and passion in your relationships over time. Without emotional boundaries, our lives and our relationships cannot thrive!

Unfortunately, without the ability to explore this, and the skills to navigate the emotional discomforts of being in relationships, we tend to ignore our emotional pain. We don’t address it like our physical discomforts, and yes, just like unaddressed physical pain, our denial about our emotional pain will create long term consequences if it is not dealt with.

Can We Become Nice, Loving, & Strong? Absolutely…in fact, you must!

Typically, we struggle with boundaries because we want to be nice and loving. Our association with boundaries is that “only the cold-hearted “bullies” have them” or “you need to go with the flow to be successful with love.”

Not True! Our emotional discomforts need to be just as important and addressed ASAP…just like our physical ones.

Do you struggle with boundaries? 

Healthy Boundaries Check-in

If you said “yes” to even one of the questions in this quiz, you struggle with creating and maintaining healthy emotional boundaries. If you haven’t taken the assessment – download it now and answer the questions.

Here’s a recommended next step:

  • Learn and practice identifying your own emotions. This will help you identify where your emotional boundaries end and someone else’s begins.

You will become aware of:

  1. Which emotions are actually coming from you.
  2. Which emotions you actually have control of, and can do something about.
  • Begin to practice sharing your emotions. Get up close and personal with your emotions and give yourself permission to speak them. Why? Because you Matter!

Give yourself permission to speak your emotions. Why? Because you Matter!


Explore Healthy Boundaries With Staci

If you need support with setting healthy boundaries, (which most of us do), Staci Bartley, relationship coach and Beautiful Minds Wellness have joined together and created a Love & Boundaries Online Course for you. Discover the skills needed to be nice, loving & STRONG. 

For a limited time you can purchase this online course at a special pre-release discount. The full course will be released July 26th, 2019. Find out more about the course and the limited-time pre-release special here.

Staci Bartley, relationship expert, mentors individuals and couples, in and out of relationships. She is the co-creator of Lease on Love. She teaches in-person workshops on Love & Boundaries for Beautiful Minds Wellness in Auburn, CA and is the course instructor, mentor and coach for the amazing Love & Boundaries Online Course.