You are constantly feeling overwhelmed, taken advantages off, used, disrespected, unheard, unappreciated and devalued. You feel frustrated that no one respects you and who you are. Have you ever held them accountable, called them out when they’ve crossed your boundaries? Do you even hold boundaries?
Boundaries are not the enemy, they are your best friend. Boundaries are trying to look after you and your mental wellbeing. Healthy boundaries enable you to create a life in which you don’t feel compromised and taken advantage of all the time.
When you are constantly allowing your boundaries to be pushed, you will find yourself feeling angry, resentful, exhausted and lost.
What benefits do you gain from setting boundaries?
Boundaries enable you to establish a strong healthy connect to your mental health and overall wellbeing. To know your limitations and your expectations. To confidently stand strong when you feel your boundaries are being compromised or disrespected.
Boundaries are a great way to hold true to yourself and know what your values are, and what you’re willing to tolerate.
Where to start?
Know yourself. What is it you want? What is it you hold of value to yourself? What will you not tolerate from others? These collectively compromise to make your values.
Your values are like the poles that hold up the boundary fence. Knowing them and holding them strongly, keep your fence strong. Comprising them will eventually lead to your fence falling over, and everything coming in and getting out. Not where you want to be? Right?
Defining your boundaries
1. Write a list of the things you value, the thing you love. Eg: friendship, family, walks on the beach, talking to friends.
2. Write a second list of the things that you don’t like. eg: bad language, always saying yes when you want to say no, not make your own self care a priority.
3. For all the items, you don’t like listed on #2, think of scenarios and possible ways you can – manage or respond to them. Eg: someone swearing – you might say ‘Excuse me I would be grateful if you didn’t swear in front of me’, or you may decide some situations with friends you would call them out on it, but others aren’t worth the effort. When people are always asking you to do thing you necessarily want to do – you may respond with ‘I’ll need to think about it and come back to you’, or ‘thanks for your kind offer but unfortunately I can’t. Or you can simply say ‘No thank you I can’t’ and remember you can simply say no without explanation. Your reasons are yours, not theirs. You don’t have to justify your why.
4. Make a list of the things you would love to do as part of your self-care routine. Eg: mediation, gym, daily walk, massage, book club, dance, weekend away, quiet time. Use your diary to book some of these times in. Booking it in your diary mean you’ll commit to it.
5. Make a regular habit to do positive things for yourself. The more positive and happy you are, the stronger your mindset and willpower, and your ability to maintain your healthy boundaries.
What happens if the boundaries are compromised?
Simply re-start building the boundary back up, make sure self-care is first priority and re-establish your mindset around what you will tolerate. Don’t expect that your boundaries won’t ever be weakened or even knocked over, because life is unpredictable and we can’t always expect the unexpected. You just have to keep checking in with yourself regularly and being alert and mindful of how you’re feeling and what might be compromising your wellbeing.