The old real estate cliché asks the question, "What are three most important elements of property?" which is, of course, answered by, "Location, location and location."

...So, let me ask you a question: What are the three most important elements of successful relationships?

Answer: Boundaries, boundaries, and boundaries.

And that would mean first of all, the "internal" boundaries that you have with yourself, as well as the proactive boundaries of assertive behavior that you have with others, and the reactive limit-setting boundaries that you also have with others. Let's take a closer look...

Boundaries with Yourself - These boundaries will give you a more balanced life. One very common tool to use to evaluate your balance in life is the Whole Life Wheel.

Draw a circle about 6 or 7 inches in diameter with another circle about 2 inches in diameter in the center of it. Then draw eight lines, as evenly divided as possible, from the edge of the inner circle to the outer. You should have what looks like a wheel with spokes. Between each of the spokes write in one the most important areas of your life (i.e.: Physical, spiritual, social, vocational, physical environments, personal growth, recreational, etc.). In the center write what you believe your life purpose is.

When you live according to your purpose, everything revolves around that; meaning that your purpose is expressed in all arenas of your life. You can use the wheel as a way to inventory your life and set boundaries with yourself if you find certain areas that come up unsatisfactory. Simply reset your goals and do some re-prioritizing to get the balance that you desire.

Remember, however, that balance is seldom ever perfected, but rather, an ongoing re-adjustment. If you find that you are giving up your balance due to a relationship, you may want to re-evaluate the relationship and your behavior. That is often an early warning sign of some oncoming dysfunction.

Proactive Boundaries - When you make a request, or express a need or want, you are being proactive with your boundaries. In other words, you are not waiting to react, but instead, you are being forthright in stating and choosing what it is that you want and desire in your life. This all comes from knowing your values and living according to your integrity.

Being assertive means not only saying "No" to what you don't want (reactive boundaries), but more so, saying what you do want proactively. Want the aisle seat? Then ask for it. Want a booth instead of a table? Then ask for it. Want less ice, or no ice? Then ask for it. I think you get the idea, right??

Know who you are (your purpose and values); and know what you want (your goals and desires); then go for it (and stay focused) with assertive, proactive boundaries.

Reactive Boundaries - When someone does something that is intrusive, inappropriate, or abusive towards you, it is your responsibility (the "ability to respond") to set an appropriate boundary to protect yourself. This may simply mean leaving the situation or distancing yourself from it; letting the person know what happened and what you want differently; and/or just simply letting them know that the behavior is unacceptable. Avoid explaining or complaining, and just state what was done and what you want, or remove yourself from the situation.

One common issue I hear from people is how their work environments have people with negative energy and/or inappropriate behavior. Because it is their work, they often feel as if they can do nothing about it. I disagree, totally. You always have at least three choices:

1. You can ask to get promoted, transferred, or you can leave your job.

2. You can learn and implement a multitude of assertive people-management skills and tactics to create boundaries and protect your energy.

3. You can put your focus elsewhere. Creative visualization and other positive stimuli can offset some degree of toxic or unhealthy elements (people) in your environment.

The minute you believe that you have no other choices, then the chances are that you will feel, and stay, stuck. Always see the options and choices that you DO have. In doing so you keep your power.

So what does this all have to do with a tripod? A tripod has three legs that can balance and carry a large load, as long as the legs are all stable. These three legs are the three boundary dynamics in your life: your internal boundaries with yourself, and both your proactive and reactive boundaries with others. Keep those in order and you will be able to enjoy a fulfilling and passionate life!

...and my hope for you is that you have a VERY fulfilling and passionate life!!

Author's Bio: 

I provide mental health counseling, marriage counseling and relationship counseling to help professionals and their families eliminate stress, maximize success and create extraordinary relationships at home, at work and in the community. As a mental health counselor, marriage counselor and relationship counselor my number one goal is to help people live their lives and relationships fully and completely. I've been offering counseling, coaching, and educational programs since 1987. My programs are focused on empowering people to have more successful lives, businesses and relationships. You'll always find FREE Life and Relationship Success Special Reports at http://kendonaldson.com/. I'm also the author of Marry YourSelf First! Say "I DO" to a Life of Passion, Power, Purpose and Prosperity http://www.marryyourselffirstbook.com/