Creating Healthy Boundaries
It *literally* has taken me years to figure this out.
I was raised in an environment where boundaries weren't a thing, much less something to be regarded with respect. My emotional and physical boundaries were crossed regularly. I say this retrospectively, though. To be honest, I didn't really know what boundaries were. I thought that with people that are close, you don't put up too many obstacles or they'll leave. I didn't interact this way with people that weren't close but for friends and family, I regarded them in really unhealthy ways. Some of my lack of boundaries was also attributed to managing the emotions of the adults around me for my safety and survival.
It wasn't until I moved a thousand miles away that I was able to begin processing the hell I experienced. It was then that I began figuring out what my boundaries were and how to enforce them in a way that wasn't aggressive but also, how I could enforce my boundaries and still stay in a relationship with someone.
These are a few of the things that I learned about creating healthy boundaries for myself:
1. Learn more about yourself.
Increase your level of self-awareness so you can recognize when boundaries are being crossed.
2. Become a more grateful person.
If you can practice being a grateful person, you will find the grace to respect your own boundaries as well as the boundaries of others because you recognize the thankfulness in being able to both give and receive.
3. Practice clear communication.
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
4. Follow through.
Follow through on what you say you will or won't do if a boundary is crossed.
5. Release the guilt.
Let go of any guilt you may harbour for saying no or for not going along with something that doesn't work for you.
We can become resentful when we do things out of obligation. There are moments when you may find it necessary to make sacrifices for something but understand that there is a big difference between doing something sacrificially or obligatorily.
Enforcing healthy boundaries takes intentionality and practice. There will be times when you may feel guilty or ashamed for doing something other than what is desired and/or expected of you but that's okay. Work through those feelings and remind yourself that it is healthy to know where everyone else ends and where you begin.
You are the only thing that you have control over and you have the right to decide who can access you, in which ways, and for how long.
Give yourself permission to advocate for you.
P.S. Hey, Friend!
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