A beginner’s guide to setting healthy boundaries and why they are important.
As you grow older more is gradually expected of you. More people demand your time, more tasks demand your energy and more relationships demand your attention. The sad truth is, the one person that gets left out of your priority list, ends up being yourself.
Setting healthy personal boundaries is a life skill that many of us learn too late or not at all, but it’s crucial that boundary setting stops getting overlooked, so here is a beginner’s guide to the art of setting boundaries.
listening to yourself.
The beauty of growing older is that, with each passing year, we are able to get to know ourselves a little better and start to fully tune into ourselves. Slowly learning what you like, dislike, what makes you uncomfortable and what recharges you, is essential to being able to set boundaries. Once you know the basics about your preferences, you will be able to start putting up boundaries which protect your energy and time. For example, if you learn that after seeing a particular person, you feel emotionally drained and exhausted, start by limiting your time with them. Remember your energy is yours to protect.
Arguably the simplest-and yet simultaneously one of the most difficult-ways to begin implementing boundaries, is by saying “no”. Doing favours and helping out every now and again is fine, but it’s important to look out for people taking your kindness and time for granted. Saying “no” to any kind of requests or invite can be hard but you can start small simply by saying, “I can come, but only for an hour”; it is a great start to adjust things to benefit you.
Once you begin setting boundaries in your life, you may find that you feel guilty when choosing to put yourself first; it’s essential to protect your energy without worrying about what others will think of you. All too often do we find ourselves saying “yes” to things we really don’t want to do, just to please someone else or to gain someone’s favour; setting boundaries helps us to stop living to please others.
making yourself a priority.
When you are presented with the idea of self-care, many will find themselves associating the term with bubble baths and meditating. We don’t tend to think of how important boundaries are when deciding to prioritise ourselves. There is no doubt that meditating and soaking yourself in warm bubbly water are important ways to practice self-care, but boundaries are arguably one of the most important forms of self-care you can allow yourself. By setting them you protect your energy and time: two very precious things that belong to, you guessed it, you!
trusting the process.
Boundaries come in numerous forms, e.g. you can set physical boundaries, emotional boundaries and time boundaries, each form of boundary you make will allow you to have more control over your life. Just remember that setting boundaries is a process, and it’s important to persevere with it, even if it gets a little hard and the guilt keeps niggling at you. In time you will find it easier to put yourself first and you’ll feel a whole lot better for it.