Updated: Oct 30
You've probably heard the term 'boundaries' a lot lately. Boundaries are a form of self-love that allow us to meet our needs first, by protecting our own energy and taking care of ourselves. By setting boundaries (or the lack of doing so), we teach others how to treat us and what we are willing to tolerate. As children we weren't necessarily taught healthy boundaries. Many of us, in an effort to meet a need to be loved and accepted on a subconscious level, became people-pleasers, or we were taught that it's selfish to take care of ourselves first. This only leads to resentment and unfulfilling, frustrating relationships as adults.
A large part of the self-healing process, and loving ourselves first, is learning what healthy boundaries are and how to set them. Boundaries can be applied in many different aspects of our lives and will help you take your power back. It's important to learn how to set boundaries with yourself, your partner, in-laws, co-workers and friends in respect to your time, energy, and mental space. It's also important to be mindful and respectful of other people's boundaries. If you want people to be respectful of yours, you have to be respectful of their time, energy, and space as well.
Below are some basic examples of setting boundaries that will help you honor and meet your needs before helping or giving to others so that when you do, you are giving from a selfless, loving place.
BOUNDARIES WITH TIME & ENERGY
How you use your time and how much you give to others vs. taking time to meet your own needs
Being disciplined about when you go to bed so you are rested for the next day.
Setting a time limit for scrolling on social media and being able to put down your phone or computer.
Prioritizing time for things that make you feel good and are important to you ie. working out, cooking, meditating, spending time alone, going for a walk, going to get a massage. This means being able to say no to other people and things that are demanding your time.
Listening to your gut feeling/reaction when someone asks you to do something or borrow something of yours and honoring your feelings about it. If the answer is no, find a way to decline the request that is kind but still authentic and honest about how you feel. If people can't accept your boundaries that is not your problem.
With family, friends or work:
Being able to kindly say no to a last minute request or last minute plans when you can't (this includes energetic and financial capacity, not just time!)
Taking time to respond to messages, emails and calls when it is right for you and you have the time or mental space to respond.
Not answering your phone when you don't have the time or emotional availability to chat. As a general rule for myself, I typically won't answer my phone after 7pm so I can relax.
Not answering work emails on the weekend or past a certain hour. If someone asks you for your time on your day off you can simply respond with "can this wait until I am back in the office?"
Being able to tell someone you aren't comfortable discussing a certain topic (you can give your reason why but you don't need to give specific details if you are not comfortable with it) and letting them know you don't want to discuss it.
If you tend to be a people-pleaser, setting boundaries might feel scary at first, but the more you practice and the more you realize how important they are to your well-being, you will have an easier time honoring them. You may also feel some guilt after setting them, or if people react poorly to them, you may have some regret, but remind yourself that you are doing this for your comfort, not theirs. Why should you feel discomfort for the sake of someone else's comfort? Healthy relationships require healthy and honest communication, so don't be afraid to speak up for your needs. When you communicate your boundaries and needs, you communicate your high self-worth.
Photo Credit: @mirandakerr