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Creating boundaries as it pertains to you and your relationships, are extremely important and necessary for your well-being. Establishing boundaries forces you to consider what you are willing to put up with and what you aren’t willing to put up with.
And both are equally important! Establishing boundaries means defining a point where you stop and in a sense, others begin. It may sound silly at first, but it’s important to establish a separation from self and other people.
What you need in any given moment, may not be what someone else needs or expects and that is perfectly okay. That is where boundaries come into play, making relationships a little easier to navigate.
I think of it the way I think of sports. Whether you played a sport or not, most of us know there are boundaries or rules in place for the players of the sport. For example, in basketball they have a physical boundary around the court so players know where they can play and where they cannot play (i.e., out of bounds).
They have many other rules and regulations in place that structure how the game is played. All of this helps the players know what they can and can’t do. It also provides them with consequences in case they do something that goes against the NBA’s rules or boundaries.
Boundaries can and should do the same thing in your personal life.
Whether we like to think about it or not, boundaries are important for every single one of us. They help us reinforce what we need but also provide others a deeper understanding of what we need and why we need it. To break it down, there are three parts to consider:
- What you allow or accept
- What you don’t allow or accept
- What happens if someone/ something does something that goes beyond your boundary
The athletes in the above example don’t need constant reminders of the boundaries, but they’re still there. At times boundaries can feel like a negative thing we don’t want to deal with. But they aren’t negative and we should embrace them!
Think about it. You see or recognize boundaries in sports, entertainment, and you even see it in the workforce. The mere definition of professionalism is rooted in boundaries; what is acceptable and what is not.
This is why you should establish boundaries in your life for your own well-being, too! Having boundaries creates healthy ties in your relationships because it promotes self-care and communication between you and someone else. Both of which, are important if you want to maintain your sanity and a healthy relationship (this goes for ALL types of relationships, not just romantic ones).
What I like about boundaries is the opportunity it presents to reset expectations. It gives you a chance to think about what matters to you and why it matters. And if you want, you can work on communicating that or expressing to others so they know know what your boundaries are.
Thinking you struggle with establishing boundaries? Here are a few signs that you may need to set up boundaries to improve your own well-being:
You’re usually annoyed/ pissed off by someone else’s actions.
Ever feel constantly annoyed by someone and whatever it is they are doing that just gets up under your skin? We’ve all been there and it may be time to establish boundaries so you aren’t getting so worked up.
For me, it was right out of college when I landed my first big-girl job (woot woot!). Now I love my dad but he always had a habit to call me while I was smack dab in the middle of work. I may have been annoyed, but I also realized that I hadn’t set any expectations now that I was working. He wasn’t at fault, I was.
By simply establishing a boundary with my dad that meant I could only really talk (bar any emergencies) after work. It was a simple solution that helped me not be annoyed and made it easier for my dad and I to communicate when it was best for both of us.
Also, establishing that boundary gave me peace of mind and it meant that he had to meet me on my terms, not the other way around.
If you’re noticing this with anyone in your life, it may be time to think of why you feel that way and if establishing boundaries can help the situation!
You feel responsible for other peoples’ thoughts, actions or beliefs.
We don’t realize it, but we tend to feel a sense of responsibility when other people feel something or do something. Constantly thinking about other people, when what they think or do shouldn’t really matter to us. We even get all worked up inside when really, other people don’t concern us!
It took me a long time to learn this, and honestly, I’m still learning.
But we are only responsible for our own thoughts, actions or beliefs. We are not responsible for what others say or do, and honestly, it is none of our business.
Establishing boundaries, especially internally with self, can help you redirect your energy away from worrying about other people. Instead you can use that energy back for yourself, and your own inner thoughts and beliefs.
You don’t know how to say “No”.
Saying no to people is sometimes is necessary so you can say yes to a more important person…you. Choosing yourself when you need it the most is the part of self-love we shouldn’t fear or run from. We should embrace it.
Saying no can look different for each and every one of us. Some people have a hard time saying no when it comes to obligations or things they simply don’t want to do.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever do anything you don’t want to do, because, um hello life. But it does mean you should practice saying “No” when you absolutely need to, especially if it’ll help your well-being.
This means you may have to say “No” to those dinner plans on Friday because even though you want to see your friends, maybe you’re feeling burnt out. Maybe you need that specific time to recharge or whatever. Either way, it’s perfectly okay to say NO.
The fear of saying “No” is really rooted in wanting to meet someone else’s expectations before we meet our own. You should be okay with not meeting someone else’s expectations because they aren’t yours to maintain.
And yes, it does suck to miss plans, obligations, or simply not being able to show up for people, but it doesn’t have. Your well-being is just as important, if not more important than anyone else. So don’t think of it as saying “No” to others, think of it as saying “Yes” to yourself!
You are worried what others will think of you and your “boundaries”.
Establishing boundaries can be difficult especially, if you are trying to communicate them to other people. But don’t fret, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world and honestly, it shouldn’t be.
Communicating your boundaries is a great step you can take to make sure your well-being is prioritized. You’re doing something for you, and the other person, should appreciate where you’re coming from.
We are in a way hard-wired to consider how others perceive us, whether their perception is true or or not, is a whole different thing. But a reminder here:
You should not care about what other people think. It is NONE of your business what they think!
The same can be said about your boundaries. It doesn’t matter if people like them or agree with them. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, it’s okay to establish boundaries simply for you.
You are constantly feeling burnout.
Burnout is a real and normal occurrence that most of us have experienced at least one point in our lives. Usually burnout looks like full blown stress, overwhelm, anxiety, and all of the above. It’s icky and definitely not a fun time.
If you find yourself constantly feeling burnout, you should reflect on the why. Like really take the time to think about it. Are you giving too much of yourself to others? Are you not giving enough to yourself? Or maybe is something you’re doing draining all of your energy?
The why is important because it can help you understand what you need to do to avoid it. For example, maybe you’re feeling burnout from work. Maybe work has been crazy and they are asking everyone to work overtime indefinitely.
You may feel you need to establish a boundary that lets your job know you can’t do the overtime. You don’t have to provide the reason but it can very well be because you need to tend to your own well-being instead of work.
The point is you should take some time to reflect. The answers will differ for every person, but it’s worth it to understand the why behind your consistent burnout.
You think boundaries aren’t necessary.
I’m here to tell you that is wrong! Boundaries are not only necessary for your well-being, but they help you in navigating your relationships and their expectations.
And come to think about it. How often do you get to really do things that are simply and completely for you? Probably not too often.
And that is why you need boundaries. Whether you are maintaining a platonic or romantic relationship, each one needs to have their own boundaries in place. It helps so both parties know what the other needs to be taken care of.
Your life is your life, simply put. Unfortunately you don’t get to have control over everything in this life, but you do get to control some things. It’s okay for you to take control of what you allow to come in and out of your life so that you can operate from a better space.
Again, establishing boundaries is crucial to your well-being and the development of your relationships. And you get to feel good because your well-being isn’t threatened or harmed in the process. Talk about growth, right?
If you can do something for you that makes things easier, gives other people clarity, and provides yourself peace of mind, isn’t it worth trying? Don’t wait until things are overwhelming or until someone stresses you completely out. Establishing boundaries is a step towards peace!
Try establishing boundaries today by being honest with yourself on what you want to happen and how you can communicate those wants/ needs to those in your life.
Those people care about you! You’ll be surprised with how willing they are to meet you where you are, completely transforming your relationship into one that helps you both!