To say I’ve been taught a lesson in creating boundaries as of late, is an understatement. I feel like at this point in time I deserve a PhD in it to be completely honest with you- I could probably teach an entire college course on the subject as a matter of fact.
And I have to say- I’m rather proud and feel very good about myself with what I’ve put in place AND more importantly, for not sacrificing my peace, my happiness, or my morals by setting certain boundaries when it comes to me, my family, my time, my friends, etc.
To be blunt, ever since becoming a Mother, I really could care less about anyone or anything else other than my daughter and my husband. I think being a parent changes a lot of things (obviously) but one of the most freeing aspects is the simple fact that all the outside noise and nonsense is just that- noise and nonsense. Family drama? I don’t have time for it, I’ve got to raise a child, run a household, and keep myself sane- so spare yourself the time and save your breath with trying to “drop” it on my doorstep because I don’t have the time nor the energy to pretend like I care. A little over 2 and a half years ago, I probably would have cared, sat through your entire life story and then I actually would have tried to fix or support you in whatever it was that was bringing you down. I hate to say it, but I’ve got a whole new vibe now people, for better or for worse! LOL. Sadly, it’s probably worse for a lot of people and a hell of a lot better for me and those in my chosen circle.
I think the hardest part about setting boundaries with people is in figuring out what YOU actually want and need. In my opinion, you’ve got to know yourself well enough to know what you stand for and what you’d be willing to sacrifice to stay true to your morals and ideals. Because when push comes to shove, if you’re not willing to damn near lose everything to stand up for your beliefs, you’ll get guilt tripped into sacrificing things just to please other people. If you have a strong stance on things and feel happy and proud about said stances, then you won’t have any issues staying true to yourself and defending the boundary you’ve put in place.
“The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who were benefiting from you having none.” – unknown
I recently came across that quote ^^ and it just made things so glaringly clear and put the entire idea of setting boundaries in perspective for me. If you’ve set a boundary- say, for example, you don’t feel comfortable around someone, or you’ve reserved a certain day of the week for family day instead of seeing other people, you don’t want your child to have candy (regardless of where they’re at), whatever it is– if people get upset or try to cross that boundary you’ve put in place, that should tell you a few things, and here’s what it tells me- 1. you don’t need those people in your life. If someone loves and respects you, they won’t mind your boundaries, because they will support you no matter what and will respect your boundaries (hint hint: these are clearly never the people your boundaries are about), 2. as the quote mentions above, if someone is going to be angry or argumentative about a boundary you’ve put in place- they are the people who were most likely benefiting in some way and/or taking advantage of the fact that the boundary didn’t previously exist, and 3. the more someone argues or fights about a boundary, the more evident it should be that that boundary is needed and has likely been needed for a long period of time.
So with that, here are some things that have helped me narrow down some boundaries that I’ve had to defend as of late, and I can 10000% tell you that it feels damn good to stick up for yourself and protect your inner/mental peace if you know what you stand for!
+ Morals/Ideals : to me, a lot of setting boundaries really comes down to what you believe as a person. What are some rights/wrongs that you feel strongly about? What are the things that can be forgiven by you and what things are unforgivable? It’s like that quote- ” you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything” You have to know what things you feel strongly about and stand by or else you’ll end up going with the flow or ignoring your own feelings on something just to appease other people. I’ll say this- there are a lot of things people can call me, judgmental being one of them, but it doesn’t bother me one bit- what that says to me is, you know I feel strongly about something and the way I feel doesn’t agree with how you feel so instead of just realizing we can see things differently, it bothers you so much that you have to label me “judgmental” to help you feel better about it. I actually take it as a compliment, because at least you know I’m not ambivalent on certain things. You should never have to compromise your values/ morals/ideals for someone else- and that sadly includes even family.
+ Sacrifices : are you willing to sacrifice relationships with friends and family to protect and defend your boundaries? I think this has become a lot easier for me now that I have my own family, but 100000% I can proudly (and probably a little bitchedly -I’m making up words now) tell you that I honestly don’t care if I never speak to another person on the planet as long as my daughter and husband are by my side. So that’s a big one to consider! Who are you willing to lose if they don’t support/agree/ respect a boundary you feel strongly about?
+ Honesty : at the heart of it, you set boundaries to protect yourself or those you care for (children included), so in setting boundaries you have to be willing to be honest and lay it all out there for other people when you’re sharing the boundary you’d like put in place. You have to feel empowered or comfortable enough to discuss it honestly, have open and effective communication, and be ready to answer questions/comments that some might have regarding that boundary- and some might be hard to talk about, especially if you’re discussing it with the person who’s inspired you to put the boundary in place LOL. You can’t be afraid to be assertive!
+ Value : you have to value who you are as a person and value your opinions more than anything when setting boundaries- because those opinions are ultimately the hill you’ll die on if you have to defend your stance on any issue or defend why you’re putting a boundary in place. If you’re feeling just “meh” on a subject, you’ll never keep a boundary in place or hold others accountable for respecting that boundary. You have to value your own opinion and your own thoughts to allow any boundary you set in place to hold any weight, not just for you but for others as well. This ties into the morals/ideals bullet above.
+ Never compromise : when it comes to your boundaries, there shouldn’t be any compromising. The boundary is meant to keep you sane and/or protect something so if you’re putting a boundary in place, you should never be asked to “compromise.” That completely just negates the whole purpose of having a boundary. This ties into the points made above as well, value yourself more than you value the need to appease others, because if people are asking you to sacrifice who you are just so it’s more “convenient” for them- well those aren’t people you need in the long run.
+ Be able to say NO : simple as that. You’ve got to feel good about saying no and knowing that that is enough, no other explanation is needed.
Well, there you have it! Hope this helps anyone out there create your boundaries!