The Power of Setting Boundaries

The Power of Setting Boundaries

I am a fully-fledged people pleaser. I will admit that. I have a terrible habit of saying “yes” all too often and I only recently learnt the importance of boundaries.

In doing so, I feel as though my eyes have widened a little more and I am beginning to live by my own standards, my own boundaries and am learning to say “no” when necessary.

I’m no life coach or expert, but let me tell you a little about why setting healthy boundaries is so important;

It allows you to prioritise yourself and your own wellbeing.

You may be setting boundaries for a number of specific reasons or just toward a number of specific people. Either way, I’m hoping that by doing so you will be safeguarding your mental health, allowing you to recharge, check in with yourself and make yourself your highest priority. You can (and should) still consider the needs of friends and family members, but this should not dictate your being, and you will most likely find that by setting these boundaries, those relationships will actually improve as a result. It is not selfish to turn your gaze inwards, and to make sure you are happy and thriving.

Setting boundaries allows you to avoid burnouts.

It is of course important to check in on your loved ones, but by absorbing their stress and problems you may risk taking on too much that you know you will struggle with, or even cause you to ignore your own problems altogether as a result. Boundaries will help you to avoid burnouts and taking on any additional stress in your life.

Allowing yourself to absorb other people’s feelings is a sign of co-dependency.

Women in particular are practically programmed to put other people above their own needs. We are socialised to be co-dependent. By setting boundaries you can give yourself the control you crave over your own life under this patriarchal system. Co-dependency is not normal – it has been normalised.

Healthy boundaries contribute to healthy relationships.

In setting boundaries, you come to understand how you want to be treated and how you should be treated, and you accept nothing less. You can become closer with your partner in communicating this. You are effectively telling them how to love you.

Effective communication.

Boundaries force you to become more transparent with the people close to you. You must establish your boundaries and explain when they are crossed. However, remember that you are under no obligation to provide any form of justification for setting your boundaries – this is personal to you.

Boundaries do not have to mean shutting people out. In fact, that’s not the point at all.

The point is simple. Your first stop is self-care, knowing your own limits and learning the art of saying “no” when you know you don’t have the capacity to comply.

Boundaries have to stop being synonymous with rejection.

By asserting yourself and telling someone “no”, it does not instantly translate to “I don’t care about you”. It is not your problem nor responsibility if they perceive it as rejection or abandonment. You are not saying “I don’t love you”. You are saying “I love ME”.

Perhaps your boundaries include needing some time to yourself after school or work. Maybe they include keeping your personal and professional life separate. You may ask that nobody enter your bedroom without knocking or having permission to do so. Or, you could say that you are not going to change yourself for someone else’s approval or acceptance, or to make someone feel better in your presence.

Boundaries can be small yet effective, and they are so important.

This is also a good opportunity to check in with yourself and how you yourself respond to other people’s boundaries. When someone tells you “no” or “do you mind if we speak later instead?” do you ever find yourself becoming defensive or guilting them?

It is so easy to accept and respond to other people’s boundaries. Remember that their boundaries are not about you. We all get those feelings of abandonment and rejection, we all have a fragile ego, but we must learn to deal with this privately. Guilting someone for setting a boundary will not alleviate the feeling of rejection or embarrassment that you feel.  

We must all learn that setting a healthy boundary does not equate to rejection.

Boundaries are healthy, and they are powerful.

Good luck!

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