Boundaries: Own Your Personal Space, Know Your Limits
When you can strongly say ‘no' without the slightest pang of guilt or explaining yourself, you have mastered the art of setting boundaries. It's often easy to nod along and get entangled in situations or relationships that exacerbate our anxieties and depression. But, it's crucial to remember that you matter, and it’s okay to prioritize your mental wellbeing.
So, let's dive into understanding boundaries, right? Boundaries define what is acceptable behavior from others for you. It's like an invisible line drawn around your self-worth and peace of mind. This doesn't make you selfish or mean. Instead, it reaffirms your self-respect.
Recognizing the Need for Boundaries
Part of setting healthy boundaries involves first acknowledging their existence. Often, we are in denial of our emotional boundaries being crossed. You've likely put your happiness on the back burner to avoid disappointing the people in your life. Real recognizing real, right?
If you've ever felt emotionally drained or taken advantage of, it's time to reassess your boundaries. Consider them your personal rights—the non-negotiable terms that shape how you allow others to treat you.
The Blueprint of Bondaries
Boundaries are not just thick walls that leave no room for connection. Think of it like a gate. You control it. You can allow it to be opened when you feel comfortable and shut it when you feel threatened. It is your protection from exploitation and emotional exhaustion.
Remember, it's easier to suppress your feelings because confrontation seems daunting. You might think, “He won't understand,” or “I don't want to hurt her feelings.” But by ignoring your discomfort, you're enabling their unintentionally harmful behavior.
Your Boundary, Your Rules
Here's the thing, ladies. It's time we stop apologizing for prioritizing ourselves. You don't owe an explanation of your boundary to anyone. Apologizing for wanting respect is not logical.
“I'm sorry, but I don't want to attend your party.” No, turn that around. “Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend your party” is assertive without being offensive.
Finding Your Comfort Zone
A crucial thing to remember about boundaries is that they are dynamic, like you. It changes with experiences, people, and situations. To say ‘yes' to one person doesn't mean you have to say ‘yes' to everyone. Reassessing boundaries from time to time is healthy, and it signifies growth.
It's All About Communication
As we often say on our podcast, boundaries are our personal ‘Bill of Rights that tells people how to treat us. You can't expect them to always get it right. So, it is crucial that we communicate our limits without fear of judgment or retaliation. Lay out your boundaries assertively, giving your relationship the respect it deserves.
Your boundaries do not restrict you. Instead, they pave the way to healthy interpersonal connections while preserving your sanity. You control this space. You define these laws. After all, it’s your mental health, and you're entitled to protect it.
Spotting cues, communicating your limits, and then preserving them may seem like an uphill battle. You might feel discomfort, guilt, or resistance, but remember that this is your journey towards a healthier, happier you. Trust yourself, and commit to maintaining these boundaries, even when they are tested or questioned.
Share your experiences and challenges with setting boundaries. Together, we share, grow, and break the stigma surrounding mental health. Remember, even on your darkest days, you are never alone.
About the Author
Randi Owsley, LMSW is a Licensed Master of Social Worker and clinical psychotherapist and co-host of the podcast Unapologetically Randi and Jess. She has her Masters of Clinical Social Work from the University of Southern California. She specializes in Women's Mental Health Issues, Trauma, Grief and Personality Disorders. You can find more information about her at randiowsley.com and heyrandi.com