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A Letter from Brooke: On Relationships, Boundaries and Expectations

Welcome to February! This month, I’m excited to dig into some of our deepest and most fulfilling relationships: romantic relationships, family relationships, and–and this one might just be the most important one–the relationship we have with ourselves. 

Let’s start with that last one, because if your relationship with yourself is in trouble, the others can be impossible to navigate. In order to have a relationship with anyone else, you need to know yourself, good and bad, and understand how to voice your needs honestly. 

The best relationships that I have are the ones that I don't put too many expectations on. I try to meet people where they are. I’ve been married for 21 years, and–though I hesitate to define it as a “successful” relationship, because relationships can be successful and not last forever–I do think that there are a couple things I can thank for that. One: We’re not always in the same city! We’re both busy, and we’re not together 24/7, so we get to miss each other. That separate time is really important for us: the relationship can feel fresh, we can anticipate seeing each other, we can catch up and have a date night. Two: I never morphed into what I thought he wanted. In previous relationships, I became whatever that relationship called for or contorted myself into their world. But that was exhausting, and when I met Chris it was just so refreshing to be myself. And finally, laughter–it’s always been so important in our relationship. 

Now, my relationships with my daughters are a whole other thing–first of all, they’re always changing, and the two relationships are so different from each other. Even as babies they were such different babies, which was tricky because just when I felt I figured something out with one, none of the rules applied with the other! They keep me on my toes–they’re changing all the time, so I get to re-get to know them constantly. 

But really, I’m changing too, and that’s been an important thing to remember in all my relationships. Anything that’s alive is changing and morphing. We’re affected by experience, age, highs, lows, and we’re always adapting to each other. We have to listen to ourselves, be open about learning and growing, set and respect boundaries, and–throughout it all–be patient with our loved ones and ourselves.

It all comes back to ourselves, doesn’t it? Here’s to deeping all the relationships in our lives–and giving ourselves permission to prioritize the one we have with ourselves. 

xo, Brooke


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