TLDR: Relationships, Boundaries, and Vulnerability
Boundaries are so overlooked and underrated— if I could go back and talk to younger self, I would drill this fact into my head. I would absolutely tell myself to be more open-hearted with girl friends, and not so open-hearted with boyfriends and crushes, you know? Keeping the appropriate boundaries up, physically and mentally can be SO tough, but they are so worth it.
In some aspects, it’s so easy to close ourselves off from others. It’s easy to only show one side— the cleaner and more put together side— of us and put up boundaries. Making friends can be hard, especially when we’re hesitant to let walls and boundaries down.
On the other hand, what is does a relationship with a boyfriend look like? We give so much access to our hearts and souls to those types of relationships, blurring lines and crossing boundaries so much quicker than we do to friends just trying to connect. I feel like a relationship with a boyfriend should be one where, just like healthy friendships, we voice our boundaries and expectations honestly instead of hiding them.
It’s hard to know, in the moment, who we should let into our circle of people and who we should keep at arms length. It’s hard to navigate between wanting to FEEL accepted and invited and wanting to build intentional, worthwhile, and godly relationships.
Fast forward and I am praising Jesus for all the guys who broke my heart over, and I'm kicking myself for the relationships I didn’t pursue a little harder. Anyone else? Talking to Hope, I realized that I wasn’t really the only one in that feeling! Ugh, don’t you love it when you meet someone and you have that “OH MY GOSH, THIS IS YOU TOO!?” moment.
In talking, sharing our hearts, and being vulnerable, we open a space to allow others to be that way with us. Through encouraging others and just sitting in the mess with them, we really can make a difference in the relationships we cultivate. Oh, boy, that takes courage, though. It takes intentionality.
I think that the crazy thing is how created for community and relationships we are— relationships of all kinds— not just boyfriends. We are hard-wired to want to communicate with each other, and it can be so difficult sometimes!
If you keep up with the Bachelor at all, you know that Madison went through a VERY similar situation. She was vulnerable with Pilot Pete about her boundaries and expectations. It takes courage and conviction to uphold boundaries. SO much resolve and self-respect, and I think that we can all learn to stand up for who and what we want in our relationships and in our lives. In relationships of all kinds, it can be really hard to be outspoken about what we expect and want in our relationships. Nobody should be allowed to make you feel "less than" or "silly" for holding up those boundaries and expectations for who YOU allow to sit at YOUR table, in YOUR circle.