As human beings, we must keep a “bottom line” or set some kind of boundaries or limitations when it comes to maintaining honest, safe, respectful, and trustworthy lifelong relationships.
Mencius once said: “Without a pair of compasses and a set square, it is hard to draw a perfect circle and a square.” He was alluding to the fact that: “Nothing can be accomplished without rules or standards that are tried and true.”
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As part of our multicultural society, people come with a kaleidoscope of abilities, beliefs, education levels, and desires, to name a few. So to have a diverse society such as this — to function harmoniously — we require a set of standards and rules to guide everyone. It becomes each individual’s responsibility to abide by the boundaries traditionally set forth to ensure society functions as smoothly as possible. Those who fail this responsibility make it onerous on those who strive to maintain such standards in their relationships.
7 boundaries to maintain lifelong relationships
1. Maintaining one’s integrity in any given situation
A person with integrity is someone who is honest and shows a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. So integrity is a basic requirement for a human being.
A person of integrity will always look inside themselves to find the solution to any problems they face. They self-correct and refrain from blaming those around them for their troubles or misfortunes. It can be said that integrity is the accumulated wealth of a good person and such people nurture this quality throughout their lives.
On the other hand, if a person lacks integrity in what they are doing, problems will appear in every aspect of their lives. For instance, if a person constantly complains about how bad or difficult their life is and constantly acts miserable, tired, and impatient toward people around them, eventually, these people will avoid interacting with them and realize such a person needs to start persevering and having the stamina to change themselves and their circumstances instead of just complaining about them. Once a person loses integrity, it will be hard to restore and this will lead to more bad luck.
2. Don’t betray a friendship
Forming genuine and trusting friendships is an important aspect of all relationships. Having a variety of friends can provide options from which you can draw upon. For instance, your partner can be a friend who walks with you on your life journey, providing mutual help and support during good and bad times. You may have other friends who share similar hobbies or activities, or those who understand and tolerate your idiosyncrasies.
To build good friendships, a person needs to be trustworthy, dependable, understanding, and tolerant of others. So the more you give unconditionally to a friend, the same will be given in return. Mutual help means mutual benefits.
There are times when you require your friends’ help, but the help isn’t forthcoming and there may be misunderstandings and blame directed at you. In such times when no compromise can be reached, it is best to part ways.
3. Avoid making enemies
People today are eager to climb the ladder of success, but those who set themselves goals in order to achieve a successful life need to be very mindful of how they treat others around them as they traverse this road to success. Those who ruthlessly strive to achieve success, focusing only on their own benefits, may create enemies along the way. Individuals who like to exterminate their enemies need to realize that their success may not be a lifelong guarantee. The world today has become very small due to technology, and unexpected changes always happen at a fast pace. A once-successful person may fall and those enemies will not look very favorably on his/her misfortune.
A wise and truly successful person will possess a heart of compassion – they will treat everyone equally. They refrain from turning others into enemies. Even if they know the other party is in the wrong, they give them time and space to realize their mistakes and allow them to save face. These successful people realize it is better to make a friend out of a potential enemy.
So in the event that such a person falls off their ladder of success, they will be treated with the same respect as they have shown to others. As the old saying goes: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
4. Always repay your debts
It is important to always repay your debts irrespective of whether you are rich or poor. An unspoken universal rule states “whatever belongs to others should be returned to them.” It is an individual’s responsibility to repay a debt no matter what the other party’s financial situation may be. Whether one is rich or poor, a person still needs to maintain moral integrity.
5. During adverse times, avoid blaming your family members
Some people who are going through hardships over a prolonged period of time resort to complaining about or even blaming their family members for their predicaments. They vent their anger and frustrations, at will, toward everyone in their family instead of calmly, openly, and honestly discussing the true situation to find the best solution to their problem. Home and family members should be seen as a place of sanctuary filled with unconditional honesty, trust, tolerance, respect, and kindness. Open and honest communication goes a long way in helping to resolve any personal issues.
6. Avoid being flamboyant even if you are wealthy
Keep a low profile even when you are rich. Do not spend money at will and avoid being indulgent. It would be wise to set your mind to accumulating blessings instead of building up karma.
7. Talented Individuals should not despise others
An individual who is talented in a particular area should avoid looking down on others or acting arrogantly toward those who are less talented than themselves. Instead, to improve their talent, such people would benefit from constantly looking within themselves to self-correct, remain humble, be self-disciplined, and practice maintaining their own integrity. All of these will set the foundation for continuous self-improvement.
Translated by Audrey Wang, edited by Maria