In today’s reading, we are asked to not only mentally prepare for the hard work in front of us, but to also recognize the need for healthy boundaries.
There are times when we find ourselves in a situation where we are giving more than receiving. It’s draining. It’s emotionally difficult and makes us want to retreat from the world. We ask for advice from others and they tell us: you need boundaries. Yeah, okay. Fair enough, but why can’t other people stay in their lane? Why do we have to be put in an uncomfortable situation, telling someone no and then enforcing the no because they didn’t listen or they didn’t realize or they didn’t care?
Well, because they aren’t the one with the issue. It’s our issue. We have put more effort, time, emotions into something that maybe we shouldn’t have. It’s time we take responsibility for ourselves and our own well-being.
According to Chesak (2018), in The No BS Guide to Protecting Your Emotional Space, boundaries are important because they not only help us conserve our energy, but they allow us to increase our self-esteem. With boundaries, we are able to put ourselves as a priority. However, one important thing to keep in mind is that boundaries should be flexible. The idea is not to isolate ourselves from others or to strictly follow the same rules for every situation. People, just like situations, are different. We may need a set of boundaries for one person that are completely different from the boundaries we need when we interact with another person.
The goal is to keep ourselves in mind. We make ourselves a priority by acknowledging our emotions when interacting with others, when we are in situations that don’t make us feel good. We identify what our limits are and we stay true to them. In 10 Ways to Build and Preserve Better Boundaries, Tartakovsky (2016) mentions not only acknowledging our emotions but also being assertive and direct.
This is probably the hardest part for most of us. If it wasn’t, then we would already have boundaries in place. It’s the having to say no, or the having to stick with what we say regardless of how the other person reacts that is difficult. But…we can’t be afraid to express how we really feel about a situation, especially if it is something that makes us uncomfortable. Be open and be honest. If the person reacts negatively then take that as a sign there should have been boundaries in place long before this point. If someone cannot respect another person’s boundaries or meets them with anger, then they are the very reason we needed boundaries in the first place.