There are so many different aspects in life that you need boundaries. You need to set boundaries with yourself – when it comes to budgeting, when it comes to the food you eat, and even self-care. You also need to set boundaries with others – with how they treat you, how much you do for them, and how much you even make time for them.
So, why do we need boundaries?
I think we need boundaries just so we can do what is best for us. For example, let’s use friends as an example. At this point in my life, I’ve accumulated a lot of friends in different walks of life. After a long week at work, I often decline social events. It’s not because I don’t want to be with that group of friends or hang out. It is simply because I am setting a boundary due to the fact that I need to self-care. And, that’s okay.
While that is one example of setting boundaries, the most crucial is the internal ones. For instance, we need to set boundaries with food, because let’s just be honest we can’t eat ice cream and French fries all day. So, we need to set a boundary that you can’t have Chic-Fil-A daily. This also applies to budgeting – meaning that you need to set boundaries with yourself in what areas you’re spending your money in. These boundaries are really important, because it helps you create a healthy balance in your life, where you’re just honest with yourself.
And, I’m going to be honest here. One of the biggest areas that I continue to struggle with is setting boundaries on what I need. I’m going to be honest. It’s not easy. I am a people-pleaser and am not a huge fan of conflict, so I don’t like to say no. So, I am quick to say yes to something, even though I may ignore my needs for whatever it may be. Or, it could be something that I just genuinely do not want to do or something that I can’t afford. More times than not, it’s self-care. And, that is not okay. Therefore, it’s something that I am trying to work on.
Furthermore, another example of my need to set boundaries comes from my journey with grief. Last year, my mother passed away and I went through a series of firsts. Those firsts were super hard. That Christmas morning when I woke up realizing that Christmas was different was really hard. That said, I neglected my own grief during that time to try to make Christmas more bearable for those around me. By doing that, I often forgot that I was allowed to be sad, because my mother was gone and I will never eat one of her Christmas cookies. When I realized this, I felt less ashamed by the fact that I was sad, and more open to the pain of feeling whatever I am going to feel.
Now, how do I set that boundary? Simply by being honest with myself and others all around me. That may mean simply by saying no to a holiday dinner so I can have time to myself to journal. And, of course, by realizing that I am not being selfish by doing that.
That being said, I am learning to set the boundaries that I need to be able to live a more balanced life and the boundaries that I need to be true to my own feelings. Now, this isn’t because I don’t want to hang out with my friends or family. It is because I need to take time out for myself.
Which is perfectly okay.
So, how do I create boundaries?
Simply be honest. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with those who are in your circle. For example, if a friend asks you to hang out, but if you’re not up to it because you had a long week at work and need to self-care doing whatever it is you do, it is okay. Just tell them and be honest. It’s perfectly fine to say no.
Sometimes, people are not going to like that, and that is perfectly okay. Not everyone is going to like what you want to do or even agree with something that you need to do for yourself. And, that’s fine. Everyone has a different opinion on what’s essential to them or what they need to do to care for themselves. And, I don’t know about you, but sometimes when you share that reasoning, they contradict it or say “hey but you can’t afford to do this, but you can afford that.”
That is because that is not up to them. It is entirely up to you.
Let me conclude by saying this: boundaries are important. They are important for you to set to live a life that is right for yourself. And, just like it is important to set boundaries, I also think it’s important for others to respect them. Plain and simple.