According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word “boundary” is defined as “a line that marks the limits of an area.” In simpler terms, it’s the line boldly set so others know not to cross it, or you, for that matter. We often think of boundaries as guidelines to follow in sports, property ownership, etc., but boundaries are also important to set in our everyday lives when it comes to relationships of all types. It’s time we have restrictions when it comes to what people can and can not do to us, and be unwavering with our wants, needs and the things we’ll accept.
So often we accept what’s thrown in our direction, no matter how unwanted or uncomfortable it may be. From that former romantic partner who conveniently (for them) decides to keep popping up when they’re lonely (the Chris Browns of the world), the family member who expects more from you than they would be willing to give, and from our workaholic managers who give us excessive workloads as if we don’t have lives of our own. Every day we are faced with the inconveniences put upon us by other people and are expected to just be okay with it. We’ve become so conditioned to follow this unhealthy idea of always “going with the flow,” we forget that we don’t have to. Setting those boundaries to avoid such inconveniences is perfectly okay. It is fine to set the rules for your own life in order to protect your emotional well-being. Self-care by any means.
When I realized I was just as responsible for the chaos and stress I allowed in my life as the people who were creating it for me, I knew it was time for me to make a change. I lacked boundaries. I was accepting of things I knew I shouldn’t have allowed, and I wasn’t direct or unwavering when it came to the things I wanted. With a good enough explanation and/or appropriate apology, I was okay being used, bothered, manipulated and mistreated, neglecting my own personal needs.
When I had my own come-to-Jesus moment, I decided to set concrete boundaries by stating emphatically what I wanted, what I will allow, and the restrictions I have in place to look out for myself. I haven’t looked back since.
When setting boundaries, you must be direct and relentless. There is no sweet talking or persuasion that can sway where you stand. You speak openly about the things you will allow and accept and everything else is not to be permitted. Period! These boundaries are to be followed, respected and utilized in every aspect of your life.
Yes, it may be difficult to commit to, and you may even feel guilty at times when those boundaries receive a great amount of pushback, but putting yourself first should be a priority, not an option.
If you don’t set boundaries, you are bound to be taken advantage of, and you should value yourself enough not to keep letting that occur.