Setting Personal Boundaries
Last year, I talked a lot about the necessity of self-love on this blog. At its core, self-love means giving yourself the same consideration and care as the important people in your life. If you wouldn’t want to see your parents, grandparents, or siblings treated a certain way, then why tolerate garbage for yourself? It ain’t right.
And self-love is still high on the priority list for 2019, my friends! I’ve been reading a million “self-help” books and can’t wait to implement new strategies. Lowering stress will factor into all my decisions for the new year, because who wants high blood pressure at age thirty one? Not me.
However, there was a certain piece of self-love that I missed in 2018. Now I hope to fill in the gaps in the new year to create a better, stronger, healthier me.
Setting Personal Boundaries is My Goal for 2019!
Believe it or not, I’ve always had issues with setting healthy boundaries. I don’t enjoy conflict so I figured not setting boundaries (outside family at least) would help me please everyone. … or so I thought.
Readers, I’m a giver at heart. I love buying people gifts and doing special favors to make them smile from ear to ear. While generosity is a positive personality trait, there’s no question that sometimes the wrong people will try to take advantage of kindness and goodwill. Not everyone is nice.
And, as much as I hate to say it, boundaries in dating are especially important and something I need to work on throughout this year. I feel like women fall into this “cool girlfriend or wife” trap all. the. time. I know I did. Now a lot has been written about this particular topic, such as this healthy relationship boundaries article in Forbes, so I realize I’m not saying anything groundbreaking.
Nonetheless, I want to make myself a priority, and respect my own limits after witnessing a lot of toxicity. Cheers to the future.
What Are Personal Boundaries?
For those of you who don’t know, setting personal boundaries means you’re creating rules or guidelines for how you expect others to treat you. A person with high self-esteem and worth won’t tolerate other people stomping all over him or her. A self-assured individual will shoot that crap down faster than a fighter jet.
I want to dispel a common misconception. Having boundaries doesn’t make you a jerk. Actually, a complete lack of boundaries shows you don’t respect your time, money, commitments, and self-worth. You transform into a sponge soaking up a million obligations that don’t benefit you in the slightest. You stop respecting yourself. Then guess what? Other people won’t respect you either. I mean, think about it. How can you expect others to respect you when you treat yourself like a doormat? It doesn’t work.
Instead, by being a little selfish, you demonstrate your value as a human being. Sure, you might encounter people who think you are “arrogant” or “full of yourself,” but their opinions are a reflection of them and not you. Leave them behind.
Why Setting Personal Boundaries Is Important
“But I don’t want to be selfish!” you might be thinking. “Surely, people realize my kindness and will give back.”
Stop that thought pattern right now. Wanting to be treated with respect and dignity doesn’t make you greedy. Don’t let society gaslight you into believing you’re selfish either for sticking to your guns.
Why are boundaries so important? Ultimately, your emotional boundaries are tied to your identity and your own right to make autonomous choices. You cannot make decisions in your own best interest when you’re always trying to please everyone else in the world.
Boundaries allow you to have the energy and creativity to pursue your own goals and values. It takes a lot of courage to establish limits and teach other people how to treat you, but I promise the trade off is worth the hassle at the end of the day.
How I Am Setting Personal Boundaries in 2019
Not gonna lie, this New Year’s Resolution will be a huge challenge for me. I’m actually a bit nervous over the possible outcomes.
As I’ve said, I’m not the best example of setting personal boundaries. I like to give, haha. So achieving my 2019 resolution requires a bit of planning and I already know I’m going to “fall off the wagon” at least once. Hopefully with consistency and practice I will be full of more self-respect once 2020 rolls around.
Without further ado, here are a couple ways I am planning on establishing personal boundaries in 2019. Gulp!
1. Saying “No” More Often
“No” is a powerful word, despite only being two letters long, but a lot of us have a hard time uttering it to friends, family, significant others, etc. Think about it. We feel guilty not making every social obligation or participating in every event or project at work. We want to make our significant other or friend happy so we gladly drive two hours out of the way to take him/her to the airport even though our car is low on gas and we have a million chores to do that day.
Let’s face facts. We’re scared to say “no” because we want to please everyone in our lives. The result? We’re too busy, burnout, and stressed. In a display of irony, we are no help to anyone.
Like all of you, I only have a limited amount of time and money to spare. It’s important I funnel those resources back onto myself.
As long as you’re not a jerk about it (re: bailing on an event you had zero intention of going to), then saying “no” is just fine! No one will hate you, and you’ll feel way more refreshed than normal!
2. Making Self-Care a Priority
Refusing to take care yourself will blow up your life. Seriously, disaster lies on the horizon when you neglect yourself. It’s wrong to neglect your lover and children (actually for the latter it’s child abuse), so why the heck is it “fine” to ignore your own needs? I don’t get it.
People always say, “I don’t have time to take care of myself,” which (sorry) I call total BS. You really don’t have, say, five minutes before bed to quietly meditate or listen to your favorite song? Really?
Honestly, I see a lot of (self-proclaimed or otherwise) workaholics take on the mentality that they are “too busy” for basic self-care. This mindset glorifies that it’s “okay” to let your career demolish your worth. Such an existence is unhealthy in all ways: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Here are some (simple and fast) ways I want to make self-care a priority in the upcoming year:
- Think about my dreams and goals before bed instead of tomorrow’s worries.
- Exercise regularly and eat quality foods.
- Drink less.
- Write in my journal once a day.
- Clean my apartment. No more filth, haha.
3. Let My Behavior Speak for Itself
We all know that actions, not words, bring desired consequences. In 2019, I’m done verbalizing problems ad nauseam and instead just behaving accordingly to my values. You know the saying, folks: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.
And I am no fool. Time to put the plan into tangible actions.
For example, as a teacher, I need to wake up early in the morning. As in 5:30 am. early. Therefore I won’t answer the phone after a certain hour unless it’s an absolute emergency. In addition (ha, back to dating), I won’t feel guilty about not going out to dinner or the movies once a certain hour has passed on week nights. Sleep is a priority to me.
Stop tolerating mistreatment, and let your own actions shine through in 2019. The people who love you will fall into line when they notice how much happier you are.
4. Stop Trying to Fix People
Oh my god, this one is going to be tough to accomplish, but I’m determined to stick with it.
As a teacher (you sick of this phrase yet?) and decent human being, I’m a fixer and always want to help others. Well. I’ve learned that not only can some people not be fixed, it’s not my job or moral duty to fix them either. The saying “you can only help yourself” is incredibly true.
Don’t get me wrong. If someone truly needs my help, then I don’t mind lending an ear or offering constructive suggestions, but “Rachel the Fixer” is going on permanent leave when it comes to helping someone who refuses to do the work themselves. For instance, I won’t spend hours giving advice to others (who ask for my honest input about xyz), and then refuse to take it.
As a result, the wasted time makes me feel used and depleted. No more.
5. Cutting Out People Who Don’t Respect My Limits
It’s impossible to set boundaries without consequences to go with them. And sometimes creating healthy boundaries means letting toxic people walk out of your life.
How will I do that? Most importantly, I won’t associate with anyone who refuses to accept a firm “no thank you” with grace. I read somewhere that healthy relationships, including family members, friends, co-workers, and romantic partners, can handle a “no.” I know I don’t flip out if my friends are too tired to hang out.
Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first every-so often. I recently read an excellent book called The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. Throughout the book, de Becker warns that persistent people, the ones who deliberately push others’ limits and ignore “no,” are not individuals to keep in your life. At best they are users, at worst they are abusers. Don’t tolerate obvious disregard for your consent. Ever.
Furthermore, gaslighting won’t be tolerated. Anyone who says “you’re too sensitive” or “I don’t remember that happening” when you bring your concerns to the table isn’t someone you want to spend time with.
6. Embracing My Own Choices
Everything in life is a choice excluding sudden tragedies. Shocking, I know.
A boring example would be that you might think you don’t have a choice paying your electric bill, but you do. Granted, your credit will take a big hit and utilities will be shut off, but not paying is still a conscious decision albeit not a glamorous one.
Other instances of choices are staying in a relationship that makes you anxious and miserable, busting your butt at the office for zero recognition or reward, ignoring your dreams because they aren’t “responsible enough,” spending too much money on luxury clothes and cars, eating piles of junk food and gaining weight, etc etc.
No divine entity forces you to into detrimental decision-making, I promise you.
When you realize everything is a choice, the responsibility of happiness is thrown back onto you. Which means you can fix things if life is flying off in the wrong direction.
Are there consequences to embracing your choices? Sure. Dumping your deadbeat significant other means you’ll be single at weddings (GAG). Dropping your junk food habit might mean spending more money on fresh produce. Cutting back on your workload might result in your co-workers judging you. However, if the benefits outweigh the consequences, then make the better choice and don’t fall for the sunk cost fallacy.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my goal of setting personal boundaries in 2019! What are your resolutions for the upcoming year? Do you have any good advice for boundaries and self-esteem? I’d love to hear all your thoughts and suggestions.
Happy 2019, everyone! May the next twelve months be filled with adventures and happiness. You deserve both.