Life is truly a negotiation with others.
Whenever we socialize, form relationships, or enter into agreements, what we’re basically doing is saying:
“I’ll give you this, and you give me that—and this will make life better for both of us.”
At least, this is the goal.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always how it plays out, however.
Sometimes, we get into agreements, arrangements, deals, or relationships that take more from us than they give us—and this creates an imbalance in life.
This can make us feel negative, depressed, anxious, used, or abused.
It’s vitally important to maintain firm boundaries in life.
Boundaries are basically the mechanisms and philosophies we’ve put in place to uphold our own standards, and to resist the danger of other people taking advantage of us.
Now, it’s not always easy to enforce boundaries.
But here’s the thing.
If you don’t get really good at engaging in the conflict required to uphold your boundaries and standards, then people will ultimately end up taking advantage of you.
The human psyche is a complex thing.
Humans want to get the best deal they can get whenever they’re engaging with others, making a deal, socializing, etc.
When you reduce it down to the simplest common denominator, this is fundamentally a survival instinct.
So it’s in our nature to try to get as much as we can out of every deal and interaction.
Of course, we can resist this sometimes—and sometimes, humans simply desire to do good.
We’re completely capable, for example, of loving others, of selflessly giving to people, of giving philanthropically, etc.
However, in everyday life, humans generally revert back to their base instincts.
This is why it’s so important to maintain strict boundaries in our relationships, agreements, and arrangements.
You have a responsibility to keep other people from taking advantage of you.
And the only way that you can do that is by being willing to have conflict and walk away from people, situations, or agreements that are no longer giving you an equal return on your investment.
You only have one life to live. You certainly don’t want to waste it investing in someone or something that isn’t returning some value to you in equal measure.
If your relationships or arrangements are making you unhappy, there’s probably a reason for it.
There’s probably an imbalance that needs to be corrected.
Sometimes, correcting these imbalances is painful and difficult.
However, it’s also the right thing to do.
So today, try to do the best you can to maintain firm boundaries in life, and to uphold your standards with a rigorous willingness to engage in conflict as needed.
And always be ready to walk away from situations that are no longer good for you.
Sometimes, this process isn’t very easy.
But there’s always a light at the end of that dark tunnel.
You’re capable of finding the kind of life and relationships that are actually good for you.
It’s just a matter of taking responsibility for going out and getting it.