It is so important to recognize and understand your boundaries in life. Relationships of all kinds need boundaries.
Do you ever find yourself feeling emotionally exhausted and “pushed too far”? That is because you haven’t set your boundaries in your life.
I believe there are 6 types of boundaries that you should set for yourself…
· 1) Physical Boundaries
· 2) Sexual Boundaries
· 3) Emotional or Mental Boundaries
· 4) Spiritual or Religious Boundaries
· 5) Financial and Material Boundaries
· 6) Time Boundaries (How much time you spend with someone, at work or doing something)
I have struggled in my life to understand and acknowledge my boundaries. I have always been the type to bend over back wards for people that didn’t appreciate it. I found myself putting other people’s needs before mine countless times. It happened in all my romantic relationships, friendships, and even with family. I believe I have always been able to adhere to my physical, sexual, spiritual and financial boundaries. Where I struggled/struggle is with my emotional/mental and time boundaries.
All through out my teenage years and early 20’s, I would always make sure that I wouldn’t do or say anything to upset anyone else, even if that meant I wasn’t being true to myself. Other people’s feelings and emotions were more important to me than my own.
Why did I set my boundaries? I found myself feeling tired of being an empath all the time for people who didn’t appreciate it. I decided it was time to have more love and respect for myself.
Once I hit around 26/27 years old, I found myself standing up for myself. I took the time to say, “no, that’s not okay” if I felt like my feelings and emotions weren’t being considered. I started saying “no” to things that I didn’t want to do.
We should never have to explain ourselves to anyone for anything. If you choose to do something in your life that you believe will be beneficial for yourself, do it. I, personally, have always felt like I must validate myself to people for doing the things I do. I realized that it is no one’s business but my own. It is my life, so I make the decisions. When someone makes you feel guilty about choosing you over them, I would consider letting them go. If you can't completely let them go, which I know is easier said than done, begin to distance yourself.
I can’t tell you how life changing this has been. I realized who my true friends were. I cut out so many toxic people in my life and I don’t regret it. Sure, I miss certain people and the fun times we had together, but the good times didn’t outweigh the bad.
I read an article that said, “Being the bigger person sounds a lot like accept the disrespect”. When I read that, something clicked. I got sick and tired of being the “bigger person”. I kept asking myself, "why is it always me that has to be the bigger person? Why can't anyone else suck it up and admit they may have been wrong? Why can't they apologize to me?" Every person that have cut out of my life is because they brought nothing positive to my life. I always found myself apologizing to them for their mistakes. I would always choose to make things right again by swallowing my pride just to make things easy or friendly again and move forward. I never realized that I was responsible for setting the lack of boundaries in the relationship until I read that article.
How I set my boundaries… I emphasized “I” … not everyone will agree with how I decide who should and shouldn’t be a part of my life, and that’s okay. I am sharing what what has worked for me.
1. Does this person bring anything to the table in this relationship?
2. Does this person genuinely care about me and my successes in life?
3. Does this person consider my feelings and beliefs?
4. Lastly, does this person support me and my decisions? If they don't, do they approach me in a reasonable, non-accusatory way?
I believe that if someone doesn’t genuinely want the best for you, they don’t deserve to be in your life. We need to surround ourselves with positivity in order to be the best versions of ourselves. Having someone take advantage of you, put you down and disrespect you is not healthy.
Over time, I have learned that “Quality over quantity” has more than one meaning. Having a few good quality friends or family members is always better than having a lot of bad quality. Also, just because we have had this person in our lives for a long time(quantity), doesn’t mean the toxic relationship(quality) is worth settling for. So many people’s excuses for keeping a toxic person in their lives is, “I’ve known them for so long, I can’t just throw that away”. Yes, you can. Cherish the good memories that you have with that person but move on without them if all they do is bring negativity into your life. It will be hard, but you are respecting yourself and your boundaries by doing this.
Moral of the story, it is okay and good to set boundaries in your life. It is okay to put yourself first. At the end of the day, we need to make ourselves happy. If people can’t understand and accept that you have limits on what you find acceptable, then they aren’t meant to be in your life. Remember, no one allowed to dictate your life, except you. Don’t let people take advantage of your kindness. Don’t let any make you feel like you need to report to them about your life decisions. Protect yourself with your boundaries.
I will continue to work on adhering to my emotional/mental boundaries every day. I have accepted that these things take time and eventually will become second nature to me. Just like my battle with anxiety, I take it one step at a time. I will get there, and so will you !