Boundaries: : something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent. Something, we as a society struggle to create for ourselves. Many people will often wear themselves thin or accept certain behaviours because they are unaware of how to set boundaries or don't feel they have the strength to stick to them. Boundaries are incredibly important, healthy and normal to set in your life. Boundaries apply to all areas of your life, work, family, friends, partners etc. Boundaries will give you freedom, they will lighten your load, they will allow you to see your value and worth and what you are willing to accept. Boundaries do not make you stuck up, hard to live with, ridiculous, cold, rude, mean etc. You deserve to have a magical life and boundaries will help you get there, but how or where do you begin?
If you've followed this blog for awhile, you should know by now that I love talking about boundaries. Boundaries are incredibly important for a person and something many people lack. They are though, something everyone needs to have! They are incredibly good for you mind, body and soul! But what exactly is a boundary?
How do you define a boundary? Think of a time in your life when you were hurt by something someone said or did to you. What was the event? Perhaps they criticized an effort you tried. Maybe they criticized something you were going through. Maybe they made a promise to you that they could not keep. Take that event and let's break it down.
First, define the event. Define whether it was something said or something done. Write it down. Now, we pick it apart. When this event happened, how did you feel. Connect with that emotion. Where do you feel it in your body? Is it in your hands, like you want to curl up and punch someone? Was it in your heart, like you want to sit and cry. Write down where you feel it then label that emotion. Was it frustration, hurt, sadness, guilt, embarrassment shame? Write that emotion down. Now you will have three key points to that event that you can analyze. What was it about the situation that caused you to react? That will help you identify what boundary you need to create.
I'll give an example. I'm going to get personal here but it's a great example. I've been dating on and off for a few years. I was recently in a short relationship with someone. He taught me a lot about my boundaries, which I am so thankful for. When we were dating, we would make plans to see each other but when those times came, he would cancel or cut it short. This went on for a few weeks and it left me feeling sad. I was also angry but sadness was the primary emotion. Sad because I wanted to spend time with him and get to know him and he said he wanted to do the same, but actions speak louder than words. I would get so excited and look forward to the days we planned, only to have him cancel again and again. It came to the point where we had an adult, mature conversation about what we expected in a relationship and what we were really looking for. Through this event, I set the boundary around seeing someone (covid aside). If I am dating someone, I expect to be dating someone, meaning we make time for each other and (yes emergencies happen I get that) but we make plans and stick to them and are open and communicate if the day comes and we don't want to do those specific plans, we rearrange and find something else we want to do. I myself get tired after a long week and I may make plans on a Monday that come Friday, I'm not really up for but I'm up for alternating the plans so I can still see the people I care about and spend time with them. In a relationship, I expect time together. That is a boundary I have. That is a boundary for dating me, we spend time together, that's how we build our relationship and help each other grow. It's one I am not willing to waver on. It didn't leave me feeling great when plans were cancelled and it's not what I expect so I have that boundary now. (Side note - we deiced to be friends, we both didn't want commitment at the time and that is working out a lot better for us - there will be another blog about that, I feel like I need more dating blog posts).
This was a boundary I didn't have the past and I knew I needed to create for the future. I know I deserved to be in a relationship in which my partner wanted to spend time with me, more than just friends. I took the situation (having plans cancelled) felt the emotions (sad and angry) and created a new boundary (relationships mean seeing each other) to allow myself to feel more confident in how I am treated as a person and what I deserve and expect.
Boundaries are in all areas of life, with our kids, parents, friends, partners, family, work, they are everywhere. No one deserves to feel like shit or stretched thin in a relationship and that means having to set boundaries so you don't get pushed around, so you don't get walked all over, so you can learn to say no when that's what you really want to say. It's healthy to have boundaries, it's healthy mental and emotional wise.
Boundaries come from out past, having done the work of facing the past, you may have addressed many situations that caused a hurtful response. Those are what you will use to further create boundaries. I have created many boundaries in my present life that are based on past traumatic events. It has allowed me to create a shift of healthy emotional living. I have also created boundaries recently through beginning to date again. I've made boundaries about when I have time for someone to date, what I expect in a relationship, what I am okay with and what I'm not okay with and I'm still learning other things. The thing with boundaries is, they can always change. It's okay for them to change but having them there in the first place allows you to feel free and confident in yourself to know what you do and do not deserve, how you should be treated as a human, as a woman, etc.
Once you have your boundaries created or are working towards them, working on self-improvement becomes more enriching. Also, remember that you will be working on facing the past, creating boundaries and self improvement all at once, they are woven together and often while working on one thing, another will pop up. That's okay, it's healing and healthy!
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