I’m not sure why no one told me this sooner, maybe it was unclear, or maybe I missed it. However, setting boundaries has opened me up to a new freedom that I didn’t even know I needed or wanted.
Are you like me? If so, you’ll answer yes to the following questions:
- Are you the strong friend?
- Are you the planner in the family?
- Are you the most organized?
- Do you have the most experience?
- Do you often consider others and things in ways that most don’t?
If you answered yes to even one of the questions…come here, let me hold space for you. Welcome, I see you and understand your plight more than most.
I’ve been asking myself lately, “Who helps the helper?” Oh how I’ve been craving a soft place to land and just be for quite some time. It’s gotten to the point where I realized if I want this, I have to create it. I’ve begun the process and a huge part is setting boundaries. What is a boundary? Well, Sunshine, I’m glad you asked. A boundary is an imaginary line that separates your physical space, needs, feelings, etc. from others. Essentially, it’s the limit we set for ourselves based on what we deem acceptable from others in various relationships. Boundaries can be set with anyone (family, friend, coworker, etc.) about anything (emotional, physical, mental, etc.)
Here’s what you need to know. There are many types of boundaries. These include but are not limited to physical, emotional, time, sexual, mental, material, etc. I won’t get into the nuances of each one of these because we are all so different and require different things. What I want to highlight is more about how to set a boundary. Then you Sunshine, can choose with whom and what. First thing you have to do is identify why the boundary is important and how it will impact you. This will help you enforce it. It can be tough, there are moments of guilt, doubt, inconsistency, etc. Confront those feelings by acknowledging them and make a conscious decision to move past them. Secondly say/discuss the boundary. Be sure to keep it assertive, simple, direct, reasonable, and specific. Lastly, establish action steps for when boundaries are/aren’t respected.
There are tips to help ensure the boundary setting process is smooth. Be mindful of the following:
- Timing – In anger or heightened emotional moments is not the most ideal setting
- Tone – Refrain from accusatory language or telling someone they’re wrong
- Motive – Trying to control or manipulate how someone thinks or feels is not the purpose of setting a boundary
- Oversharing – Limit how much you discuss as this promotes insecurity and minimizes the validity of your feelings and thoughts
Setting boundaries although may be difficult, is worth it. Remember that you will thank yourself in the long run.
Let Your Boundary Setting Light Shine!