Hi! Thanks for stopping by here today! If you’re new here, WELCOME! My name is Natasha, and I create content surrounding living your best life. I share affordable outfit finds, mental health tips, and a lot of information about bipolar disorder. If you’ve been here before, thank you for your ongoing support of my blog. In this post, I’m talking about setting boundaries, their significance, and why they’re absolutely necessary. But I’m just going to plug a few of my old posts right here before we go any further. Check out some of my other posts for some light, lifestyle-related reading before we dive into some depth. Make sure you stay tuned until the end to find some examples of setting personal boundaries and tangible steps to implement them into your life.
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Let’s begin our chat about boundaries.
Boundaries refer to those invisible lines we draw to protect our inner peace and energy. As children, our generation was told that not doing things was rude. For example, hug Aunty so and so because if you don’t, well, you’re being rude. I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but boundaries weren’t a part of my childhood vocabulary, that’s for sure. And now, as a mother to 3, it’s something I stress. It’s something that I value immensely. Boundaries are a tool we can use. And, when we communicate them clearly and stick to them, it’s quite possible that mental health improves too.
Setting a boundary can be hard. It can be stressful to figure out the appropriate boundary and then effectively communicate it. Setting boundaries might feel like you’re hurting someone else’s feelings, but you’re protecting YOU, and someone who loves you will respect that. I guess what I’m saying is that setting boundaries can be extremely hard.
You might question if they’re even necessary, especially if you’re a bit of a people pleaser (like me! Also – stay tuned for a post detailing signs of whether or not you’re a people pleaser and how to cope! ). But, the benefits of protecting your peace, your energy, and your mental health far outweigh the stress you might feel. Taking care of yourself needs to be important. It needs to be number one.
What is a boundary?
A boundary is much like an invisible line. Imagine you’re standing in some sand. You draw a line in the stand and tell me I can’t cross that line. Even if I want to be closer to you, that line is your boundary. That’s a bit of a symbolic explanation, but that’s pretty much what it is. Boundaries set a line of what is allowed for you and what isn’t. And the only person that can set them is you.
Examples of Boundaries
Let’s pretend you have a mother-in-law who is always making comments about how much screen time your children are watching. “In my day, my kids played outside all day long and only came in for supper and a bath.” Yes, thank you, Karen, how delightful, but nowadays, we know more about crime and safety, and I’d prefer not to send my children out entirely unattended for the day. BUT, BESIDES that point:
You could respond with –
“I’m not open to discussing how I raise my children with you.”
While it might get a negative response at first off, it’s not being rude. It’s simply stating the fact that this discussion is not happening. You’re not open to criticizing yourself with her. You’re drawing a boundary and sticking to it.
Stick To Your Boundaries
Obviously, you could say, “Thank you for sharing that with me, Karen, but I’m not open to discussing my child-rearing practices with you,” but maybe you’re not thankful she’s sharing that with you, though, I’m not judging. Raising children is so freaking hard, and I myself get really frustrated when people try to tell me how it’s done. Like, no. You don’t know my children as I do. And if you’re a mama reading this, the same goes for you. YOU know your children. You don’t need anyone in your business if it’s adding negativity and stress to your life.
I think we were lied to as children. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know personally, that there were expectations. Hug Uncle so and so that I never saw and felt weird doing, and more. I think we were taught that having boundaries was rude. Selfish even. That other people’s feelings should be more valued than our own, and today I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. Setting boundaries isn’t rude; it’s absolutely necessary. It’s how you protect your peace and energy.
Setting A Boundary Isn’t Rude.
You’re not selfish for having boundaries and implementing them. You’re strong, powerful, and fierce. It’s hard to say to someone, “I’m not discussing this with you.” and not be afraid of what’s going to happen next. (And if you’re anything like me and struggle with anxiety, this is SUPER hard.)
You might be opposed to setting boundaries because of how others might take it, but I want to assure you, that’s a them problem and not a you problem. You don’t have to share things and don’t owe anyone anything.
Boundaries don’t have to just be verbal. It might be a location or just protection of your physical being. (Not being touched, not hugging, etc.) Their purpose is to protect the person. Protect their energy, space, body, mental health, etc. A boundary is like a rule. A rule that you get to make.
It’s Not Selfish.
Contrary to what some might tell you, setting boundaries isn’t selfish in the tiniest bit. It might take some guts to set and communicate them; maybe they aren’t received well, but setting boundaries isn’t selfish. It’s a way to communicate your needs. It’s a way to communicate what you’re comfortable with. If someone doesn’t respect your boundaries, it might be time to consider putting some space between you two.
In order for your boundaries to be respected, it’s important that you use clear communication. Keep in mind that your boundaries don’t need to be explained or justified. You don’t owe anyone anything. I might repeat that a few times still. It’s been a learning curve for me!
Setting boundaries for yourself takes dedication and consistency. To set a boundary, you need to evaluate your emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental being. You need to know what your limits are. Being able to set clear boundaries derives from having a clear sense of self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Firmly knowing who you are and what you believe in. That’s why setting boundaries is more like a journey rather than an event. You need to know yourself before you can set them. You must be aware of your limits before setting boundaries.
Tips To Set Boundaries
Be clear and assertive. (P.S. Stay tuned for a post about how to be assertive and still be kind!)
Don’t give explanations or reasons.
No is a complete sentence.
Boundaries are so so important. They are needed to foster positive mental health. Setting boundaries is vital. It’s necessary. You need to do it.
The lies we were told as children have taught many of us that setting boundaries isn’t acceptable. That other people’s feelings are more valid than our own. That we need to value other people more than ourselves. These aren’t true. And, if you’re a parent, stay tuned for another post about teaching children how to set boundaries! Because setting boundaries is something, we need to do as adults and teach our children how to do it too. It is massively impactful and important.
Examples of Personal Boundaries
Not wanting to discuss certain subjects.
Not allowing new people into your home.
Not permitting conversations about weight.
Not responding to texts, emails, or calls immediately.
Not allowing toxic relationships in your life.
How do you set boundaries? Do you find it difficult to remain consistent with them? Are your boundaries always well received when you communicate them to your loved ones? Share your experiences setting boundaries in the comment section below.