Though we hear about this practice often, and can mentally grasp the importance of it, sometimes it’s still challenging actually implementing it into our lives. Setting healthy boundaries is something we all know can benefit our lives in a myriad of ways, and yet how to do it, when, and why still can feel so elusive and confusing.
What I wish to share today is a common example in my personal life, where a simple boundary could have prevented so much anxiety, difficulty, and heartache. A few months ago I was invited to do something that I really didn’t want to do. My intuition said no, my heart pulled back, and deep down I knew it wasn’t the right fit for me. As many of you know, I have a history of being a people pleaser, and so, despite all those internal warnings, I said yes.
I fell back into the part of me that wants to always be liked, and who doesn’t want to disappoint.
As you can imagine, I begrudgingly endured the entire situation. And I felt stressed, anxious, angry, frustrated, out of alignment, distracted, irritable, and out of sorts.
Can any of you relate to this?
I think many of us inflict upon ourselves this stress and anxiety because we think we have to, in order to be liked, accepted, welcomed, or included.
But the truth is, being a people pleaser and saying yes without discernment doesn’t really do anyone any good. People don’t really like you more this way, and ultimately you hurt yourself each and every time you participate in this habit.
This situation in my life could have benefited from boundaries, self-connection and awareness, and confidence to speak up for what’s true for me. This simple situation of an unaligned invite and an unaligned response led to so many complicated emotions and resentment.
One of my favorite teachers of boundary setting, Nedra Glover Tawwab often explains that in looking to the parts of our lives where we have that deep-seeded resentment or anxiety, is often where we need boundaries the most.
Thinking about it in this way, we can embrace boundaries are a form of empowerment, strength, and a way for us to align with our identity, our desires, and where we stand in the world. When you don’t have boundaries, you are sending out a signal that you don’t know what you want, that you’ll take whatever you can get, and that you won’t put up a fight along the way.
When you don’t have boundaries, you feel like you are constantly living in a “doormat” mentality. Setting boundaries is a form of self-respect and self-love. By respecting yourself enough to set the necessary boundaries in your life, you’ll discover a unique sense of freedom and peace of mind.
Right after that situation I mentioned above, I made a promise to myself to get in touch with my boundaries and practice enforcing them. The relief I felt was immediate.
If you are looking to start establishing more healthy boundaries in your life, here are a few helpful tips for you:
– Connect with yourself to uncover your desires and values.
– Make a list of the things that you will and will not tolerate in your life.
– Tell a trustworthy friend about your intention to stick to your boundaries, so they can help you stay accountable!
– Remember that it’s ok to say no.
– Trust that the right people will stick around when you have the courage to stick up for yourself.
I hope this is helpful for you. I know it can be hard, but trust me it is worth it!