This is a subject that has been coming up a lot for my clients. How to start taking care of yourself and set healthy boundaries. So many of you are giving way too much of yourself to others. You are overextending to meet other people’s needs. Putting other people first over your own health and well being. And unfortunately what you are finding is that we all have a breaking point. A moment where we realize we cannot “do” anymore or “give” to one more person. A time when you see your own health being affected and you can no longer bounce back as quick as you once did. Your energy gets depleted and it takes longer to do the same tasks that you could once fly through. Emotionally you just can’t listen to one more story or one more issue someone else is dealing with. You just cannot give anymore as much as you try. You realize that the demands just never end. Sound familiar?
So, the question is how do you change this? How do you start taking better care of yourself and be your own advocate? The answer…by setting healthy boundaries. Boundaries are your rules for who can enter your life, what you will deal with or what you are willing to accept. Think of your life as a house. You have rules for your house, right? Take off your shoes, no breaking things, use a coaster, be respectful. That is what you are telling people you expect when they come into your house. Think about your life and what rules or boundaries you have for people or do you have any? If you had no rules for your house then you would let in all the people that would drag mud in the house, break things, spill stuff, eat your food, steal things and basically do whatever they want.
When you don’t have healthy boundaries, people don’t respect you or they may take advantage of you. They might not even be doing it intentionally but with no boundaries set by you they have nothing to tell them no. You need to be the one to set the rules for your house. That way you will only attract and allow people that meet those rules into your house. For instance, think of your past do you attract the same type of people over and over? This could be in a relationship, a boss or co-worker or friendship. A person that has the same personality and treats you the same way, this could be good or bad. But if you are having trouble with this type of person it could be because you are not setting healthy boundaries. So, that same type of person keeps coming in your house since there is no sign that says stay out!
The alternative to healthy boundaries is that people will put up defenses around them to keep all people out. Not understanding that this is hindering their growth process. Instead of rules for their house they put up a moat with alligators and a drawbridge around their house. They have snipers on the top roof, and you need a special password to get in. That is not the same as having healthy boundaries or rules. With healthy boundaries you can still let people in but just the ones that follow your rules. This keeps you open and not shut off from people completely. You don’t want to block all people out because you had bad experiences in the past. You just want to set new rules or boundaries of who can come into your house. You are learning from your experiences and setting new rules, so you don’t experience the same thing again.
Many of us are afraid to set new boundaries especially when it will affect close relationships. We are afraid of how people will react or if they will want to accept the new rules or choose to move on. These fears are likely why you haven't put up these boundaries in the past. But we need to be our own advocate and honor what we need for our lives. What makes you happy, what feels right to you, what do you want to receive in your life. Know that you deserve all of these things just as much as anyone else. But you must be able to love yourself enough to put up healthy boundaries and only accept people in your life that will respect those new rules.
Know that it is ok if some people choose to say no to the new boundaries or if certain people are not attracted to your new rules. They can choose to not be around you. It is ok because we do not energetically match with everyone and their needs. Understand you are not being mean to people by setting boundaries, you are not being selfish by saying no. Your intent is not to hurt anyone, but it is to clearly state what you need in your life. You want to put a big sign out stating the type of people you DO want in your life. People that love and respect you. People that are kind and generous. People that can give and receive equally. Take some time to think about your new rules for your house. What do you want to let into your life or remove from it? How do you want to feel going forward? Know that you are the only one that can write these new rules. We cannot wait for others to give us permission to do so. You must decide when you are ready to make the changes to put up healthy boundaries and create the rules for your new healthy life!