setting boundaries: a form of a self-care.
cover image: Manuel Vason
With currently less than two months left in 2018, I am still battling with one of the most difficult aspects of self-care: boundaries. The topic of self-care has so many components and complexities that it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly what we need when we need it. Boundaries will never fail to be an overarching concept in the journey to self-preservation. They help us stay grounded and maintain a specific balance.
A boundary, by definition, is “a line that marks the limit of a subject or sphere of activity.” I have discovered that I have to be cautious of what I will and will not accept. I’m still, admittedly, am often too scared to put my foot down. Still too nervous to voice my opinion about things that I am uncomfortable with. Boundaries are important and I am still learning how to let others know when they’ve crossed mine.
Often times, I have put others needs before my own. I have allowed people to infiltrate my space when I craved solitude. After some introspection, I’ve realized it’s because I didn’t precisely know what I needed versus what I wanted. I just accepted whatever happened to come in my direction. Part of this behavior is due to my insecurities and uncertainty in regards to my self-worth. If you have never pondered your worth, chances are you haven't outlined what you deserve or need to be happy, healthy and fulfilled.
This continues to be my issue.
Through my journey, I am learning how to be patient and tender with myself. Simultaneously, even being a little sterner when I recognize repetitive treatment from others as manipulative or disrespectful. I still find it difficult to categorize situations. I’m still struggling to protect my sanity and my space. I’m still struggling to understand exactly what my boundaries are because I still cannot pinpoint exactly how someone else can provide for me what I can’t give myself. I’m learning to be vulnerable. All the while still protecting my energy. This is something I am working through. We are all growing here.
I am a chronic over-extender who wants to make sure that everyone around me is happy and comfortable. I have explored this concept for quite a while now. But why have I never extended this same luxury for myself? Because personal boundaries are sometimes even more important than interpersonal boundaries. I have studied my friends and family and gained an understanding of what they like and dislike, how they want to be loved, how high they value their personal space and how and when they might “need” me. Never once have I considered that people will not do the same for me. I never considered that my loved ones would not be willing to extend to me the same courtesy without judgment or misunderstanding.
Part of my resolution for the new year (and new life) is to set boundaries on what I will accept. I will set them on the treatment I receive from people and how much effort and energy I extend. Because of this I hope to be more economic with my money and time because I work hard and deserve it. I will distance myself from situations that no longer benefit me - even if I have to put myself in favor of others. They will survive without me.
Most importantly, I will set boundaries for myself. I will no longer sit on the project I said I would start. I will not allow negative thoughts to infiltrate my mind space. I will force myself out of bed on a bad day and give myself a break on an even badder day. I will take care of myself. Most importantly, I will be kind to myself both mentally and physically. The most difficult boundaries to keep are the ones you have have to enforce upon yourself. Make sure you’re protecting your energy and space. Make sure that everything you allow into your sphere is aiding your growth in some way. Your body and mind will thank you.
I am not writing this to give advice to anyone. If anything, I want to help people understand that they aren't alone in their struggle. Maybe even help them recognize that they were struggling to begin with.