Have you heard about boundaries? How could you not? The subject of boundaries has gone mainstream. And that’s a good thing! Being able to establish healthy boundaries for ourselves is an essential component of self-care. Yet, as essential as they are, they can be incredibly difficult to implement.
WHAT IS A BOUNDARY?
A boundary is a limit that is drawn that creates space between you and another person, be it physical, emotional or psychological. Boundaries help each of us know where one person ends and another begins. A boundary also serves to help you define your own identity and individuality. The purpose of a boundary is to protect and take good care of you and your overall well-being.
WHY SET BOUNDARIES?
Being able to establish healthy boundaries is essential to maintaining
good mental health. Boundary making is a way to protect yourself and your heart from unnecessary stress or pain. Protecting your emotional self is a way to take good care of YOU!
When you set healthy boundaries, you are tuning in to yourself, and your needs. This helps strengthen your autonomy and sense of yourself. The more you tune in to what you need and establish boundaries accordingly, the less stress you experience.
When you avoid setting boundaries, you increase your chances of overwhelm and burnout. Why? Because you are only one person, and only human. Your body is not a machine. When you ignore your own needs and have either diffused or non-existent boundaries, your body, mind and spirit get worn out, tired. Putting others before yourself increases your stress level significantly and depletes you of energy.
Not establishing good boundaries also leads to a lot of anger and resentment. This is often why so many women end up in “What about me?! Who takes care of me??” mode. The more we neglect ourselves, our feelings, our needs, the more the resentment grows.
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO SET BOUNDARIES?
Yes, I know, establishing good boundaries can be very difficult, even painful at times. It can feel like trying to lift a 10 ton truck. But why is this?
One reason is that as a woman, you were conditioned to prioritize other people, to put yourself and your needs last. This leads to feelings of guilt because just thinking about prioritizing yourself can make you believe you’re being selfish or neglectful of others.
Another reason setting boundaries can be challenging is because establishing strong boundaries can often lead to people being unhappy with us. This is especially true if you haven’t been setting boundaries or if your boundaries have been fluid. Humans can get pretty comfortable having their way and if you never or rarely say “no”, then the person on the other end is likely not going to like it. If you prioritize what people will think of you and your boundaries, you are more likely to not uphold your boundaries.
If someone gets upset with you for making a boundary, this DOES NOT mean you are doing the wrong thing. This is often where people get tripped up. They innocently, and mistakenly, assume that the person they are setting the boundary with, will willingly accept it. This is often not the case at all, and what makes setting that boundary hard.
A great questions to ask yourself in that moment is:
If I say yes to this person, if I dishonor and ignore myself and my needs for the sake of making someone else happy, how will that be for me?
This question will help you get grounded on what your limit needs to be in that moment.
BUT WHO IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON TO SET BOUNDARIES WITH?
When we talk about boundaries we often refer to the boundaries we set with other people. The people in our lives that affect us, impact us, and influence us on the daily. Doing so brings many benefits that help us take better care of ourselves and our needs.
In order to be able to establish boundaries with others, we need to understand and know ourselves, our own individual needs and desires, what’s important to us, what makes us happy, and what doesn’t.
So who is the MOST important person set strong boundaries with? YOU! That’s right! Why? Because you are likely the number one person that violates your boundaries! If you set boundaries, you cross them, or ignore them or forget about them.
Learning to establish boundaries with yourself, knowing what your limits are, what’s important to you, what you do or don’t want to do and to prioritize you, is how you will in turn be successful in setting boundaries with others.
HOW TO ESTABLISH YOUR OWN STRONG BOUNDARIES
Check in with your body – your body is an important source of information. Learning to tune in and read its cues will help inform your decisions around boundaries. If your body is uncomfortable, unsure, or in any way is giving you a yucky feeling cue, then it’ time to set a boundary.
Tune into your feelings – how do you feel? How does what is being asked of you make you feel? What would it feel like to say yes vs. no? Tuning into your feelings is a way to establish a strong boundary.
Be clear about what your needs are. Know what you need, or don’t need.
Know your worth and your value.
Connect to how important you and your needs are.
When we establish strong boundaries with ourselves by knowing who we are, knowing our worth and our value, what’s important to us, and trusting our bodies and ourselves, we prioritize ourselves, our needs and practice optimal self-care.
Exercising strong boundaries will help you make decisions based on what’s best for you, not other people.
WILD WOMAN SUCCESS TIP
Take some time to write a list for yourself about what makes you happy, angry, sad, afraid.
Write down what makes you unhappy, what your deal breakers are, what makes you feel badly if you do it.
Getting connected to what you don’t like, to what you don’t want, to what makes you unhappy, is a starting point to identifying what DOES work for you, what makes you happy, what you want, and what makes your heart soar!
Myriam Martinez is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Registered Art Therapist, Women's Self-Compassion Coach, and stick figure artist based out of Northern California. She gently guides women to embrace their Woman-ity© and love themselves fiercely through the power of self-compassion, artmaking and creativity. Her calling in this life is to teach women the power and importance of putting themselves first, loving themselves fiercely, and tapping into their creativity in order to bring more happiness, success, and ease into their lives
. To learn more about Myriam click here: https://www.myriammartinezcoaching.com/