Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!
Okay, so confession time: I sometimes don’t trust myself. Lemme rephrase that: I sometimes don’t trust my own judgment. I constantly think that the decisions I make are not the right ones, or I think that the decisions I make are selfish. It’s taking me a while to finally be okay with saying no, and even then I sometimes feel bad for doing it. I’m learning how to be in tune with my body, its signs, and learning what my personal boundaries may be.
Which brings me to my next point: having boundaries is an act of self-care; it does not make you selfish.
Boundaries are your limits, and you honestly may not know what your boundaries are at first. Your body just knows what your boundaries are; they are influenced by your tolerance, your self-image, your values, and your growth as a person. They also change with time; what your boundaries were when you were a teenager may not be the same as they were being an adult. Lemme rephrase that: they aren’t the same. So when you find yourself not being okay with something you once were alright with or find your breaking points in some areas a bit more sensitive than before, it’s totally normal. Your mindset changes, your goals change, your judgments change, and your boundaries are just as interchangeable.
With that being said, don’t allow anyone to tell you that your boundaries are selfish and they make you self-centered. Boundaries are supposed to be about putting yourself first and what you feel is the right thing. It’s not selfish to have boundaries.
In fact, it’s an act of self-care. It’s knowing that the behavior, energies, and patterns you attracted before are not some you want to have in your life, and so you create a boundary so it won’t happen again. It’s being self-aware to the point that you know the things that may set you off, make you feel uncomfortable, or that you simply don’t agree with. Your boundaries are simply created because you are protecting yourself from things that may affect you.
It’s completely okay to want to protect yourself. For me, that’s what my boundaries are all about: to not only protect myself from bad surroundings but to even protect myself from my own toxic traits. For me, I have to set boundaries with my own self so that I don’t let my thoughts bring me down a rabbit hole. It’s me telling myself “no, Liz. You will not do that today” that helps me get through some of my more stressful days.
So, make those boundaries. Ask yourself:
- Do I need to put a boundary on family & friends? If so, what type of boundary?
- Do I need a boundary for my personal schedule? What days would I like to have “me time”?
- Are there any toxic traits I have that I need to set a boundary for my healing self? Is it a certain thought that needs a boundary? Behavior? The energy I attract?
- What are some things I’m absolutely not okay engaging in anymore?
- How do I respectively discuss my boundaries with those around me?
It’s not easy to be okay having boundaries. For me, I sometimes do feel selfish and not willing to put my differences aside for other people. But, there’s typically a reason why I’m not able to, and your soul will be the first to let your body know that there needs to be a boundary for those people in your life.
It takes time to enforce the boundaries you have and be okay with it. It’s a part of becoming assertive, it’s a part of the process of respecting yourself, and honestly, once you have that embedded in you, your surroundings will be able to respect the rules you have with yourself.
I’m still learning to be okay with it! I’m still trying to not overthink the worst-case scenarios if I set up boundaries with other people. I still worry that my boundaries could potentially make people not want to be in my life anymore, and I worry about that fine-line between boundaries and selfishness because there is one. I wonder how I would personally feel saying no to something or someone in my life; it’s definitely a journey.
And while all these worries may circulate in your head, you have to remind yourself that your boundaries are your boundaries, and people who understand them will understand and respect yours. Also, you have to remind yourself that your boundaries are a result of self-awareness turned into self-care; at the end of the day, you are only doing what’s best for you, which you should always be putting first in your life.
It’s okay to have boundaries and still be a sympathetic/empathetic person. You don’t have to have one or the other. Having boundaries, in a way, is a human quality to have. It’s normal, and it’s needed for your everyday function.
Set them boundaries up, boo.