How well do you know yourself well enough to know when it is time to take a step back from a situation for your own health and wellbeing?
The majority of us are most likely to respond with “not a lot”, “I don’t know enough” or “I have never stop to think about who I really am”.
This is myself included. I have not always held a positive attitude for who I am, or even cared to think about who that person really is and what she needs. Even after all the lessons I have learned so far, there are still days when I don’t consider myself to be of great importance, and place others or something else before.
Yet despite those incidences, I have learned more about myself and all that is needed to be done to look out for my best interests.
“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how to use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept” – Anna Taylor
We all have boundaries, whether we are aware of them or not.
They come in two opposing forms; the healthy and unhealthy.
Let me first begin with the negative;
Unhealthy boundaries fall into the inability to say ‘NO’ through the fear of rejection or abandonment. You often live to serve others, all the while loosing your true identity and sense of self. You may find that others have power and control over you, dictating your thoughts and behaviour. This may lead to you feeling an overwhelming sense of responsibilty for others happiness and satisfaction, causing you to put their needs before your own.
Healthy boundaries are strong foundations placed for you to be more assertive, feel self-empowerment, and uphold high self-esteem. With these types of boundaires you are more aout to share things with others in trusting relationships. You gain the ability to protect your physical and emotional space, as well as being able to adopt equal partnerships when responsiblities are shared.
Understanding the meaning of boundaries
Personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish in order to look out for ourselves and prevent us from harm from others and the world around us. They are there to protect our body from things like stress and fatigue, as well as our minds from loosing time and control over what matters to us as individuals.
How to Create Boundaries
Establishing healthy boundaries for yourself is vital for maintaining a positive self-concept and affirm your own personal needs. For some this may seem like a selfish and unkind attitude to have when thinking about others, especially if you are a people pleaser like myself. However, no one can ever give their best self to someone else in need when they can’t first take care of themself. Of course it is a scary concept to come to, but ultimately having these boundaries in place will create freedom to do what you really love in life whilst still being able to positively interact with other people.
Here are some steps towards finding your boundaries:
- Clarify Your Priorities – look inwards to really understand what it is that defines who you are and what you hope to seek in life. Those elements of your make-up will help to clarify what you ought to priorites for you own individual needs and desires.
- Be Clear & Communicate – We can’t read minds, so it is important to voice what is important to you and how you would like to be treated by others. People will not understand what is acceptable if it is never made clear to them, so for as scary it may be it is always best to express your values.
- Listen To Your Gut – You will have heard of the term “gut instinct” when we get a strong feeling that something isn’t right. Well it does apply to boundaries! Be aware of your reactions and responses in every situation because they are indicators that something is appropriate or inappropriate for you.
- Do What Makes You Happy – For as wonderful as it may be to make someone else happy or satisfied, it is also very important to do what is going to make you happy in life. It doesn’t make you a bad person for wanting to act in your own interest instead of others when it doesn’t line up with your priorites. In fact, it is more honourable to be good to yourself and lead a fulfilling life lead by you.
- Compromise – If you are asked to do something that you doing agree with then try to find an alternative solution that works in everyone’s favour as good as possible. A healthy relationship involves co-operation and respect for one another, so if this can’t be met then it might be better to walk away or offer someone else to help.