This past Friday I celebrated my 33rd Birthday! I received some of the sweetest messages and calls from my family and friends. My husband and kids made my day amazing. Everything was just simple and sweet. I felt so loved.I’m excited about 33, but thought I would share my biggest lesson of 32 in hopes that it would be of help to you as well.
So, what was my biggest lesson of 32? In order to protect my peace, I must set boundaries.
Setting boundaries has always been difficult to me. I’m not proud to admit that I’ve said yes to things I had a problem with or no interest in doing out of guilt and love. I ended up making a martyr of myself. I had to realize that an important part of caring for myself was setting boundaries and caring a bit less about other’s feelings. An important part of me learning to set boundaries was becoming more aware and honest with myself about what brings me joy and what depletes my energy. Sometimes we do things we don’t want to do because we care for the person asking, and sometimes that is ok. But I learned that if I’m feeling guilty, afraid or ashamed to make changes or say no, I must examine those feelings and have difficult conversations even if it hurts.
Here’s the thing, though. As soon as you choose you, the people who benefited from your lack of boundaries will be angry, because it is impossible to both set boundaries and respect a person’s feeling at the same time. And I think that is what stops a lot of us from setting boundaries. It’s the fear of people being upset with you if you push back or say no. It’s the fear of being called a bad sister, daughter, friend, etc. that stops us from saying no or making life changes. But other people’s reactions to you setting boundaries, should not stop you from setting boundaries. And to be honest, those with healthy boundaries, won’t mind you setting boundaries. People will soon realize that you didn’t set boundaries to make them angry, but to make sure you are taking care of yourself.
What do healthy boundaries look like? Saying no with little to no explanation. Being honest and expressing yourself if you are unhappy with a situation. Saying yes because you want to not because you feel obligated to. Being able to communicate your wants and needs.
What do unhealthy boundaries look like? Saying yes because you fear the person’s response. Your needs and wants being secondary to someone else’s. You feel responsible for someone else’s happiness.
These are just a few ways unhealthy and healthy boundaries can manifest in our lives. Setting boundaries is simply about showing people how you should be treated and make sure you are taking care of yourself first before you even think about taking care of someone else.
So, set boundaries, boo. People will get mad, but they will also get over it.
Remember, you got this and God’s got you.