How About No?
Boundaries are something that everyone talks about, but not many people have. Why is this? Boundaries are good for so many reasons! Yet it is difficult for us to set them with others. A lot times we worry about what other people will think if we say no, or decline to help. We are overly concerned with hurting other people’s feelings, or that setting a boundary will upset a friendship or relationship. So when we look at it from these perspectives, setting boundaries seems really hard.
If you are not someone who usually sets boundaries, now is a great time to start. But I will warn you, the people in your life who are taking advantage of you will not be happy about it. And there are others that you will have to retrain to work with your new mindset. It’s important not to focus on whatever attitude or backlash comes your way. The people who are genuinely your friends will kindly respect any boundaries you place in front of them.
The people who make the most noise and push back the hardest are usually the first to go. But before they make a dramatic exit, expect them to try and guilt or manipulate you into doing what they want. Which if you ask me, isn’t the best energy to have in your life. Just remember to stand firm with your boundaries. Once they see you will not be easily swayed by anything they say or do, they usually move on. It might seem sad at first to lose people you thought were your friends. But keep in mind they are making room for people who will work with you on your level.
Why are boundaries so important?
They separate your personal space from others.
If you are constantly taking care of other people, how on earth will you ever have anything that’s just yours? When you expend a large amount of time and energy doing what everyone else wants and needs, your life tends to take a backseat. Ask yourself what you would have left if all of these people who invade your space and took up your time suddenly disappeared? If the answer is not much, you might want to consider setting up some boundaries. This doesn’t mean you are cutting people off. It just means you are directing the flow of when and where they can be in your life. And under what conditions. There’s more than enough room for everyone, including you. Don’t forget to make some!
They show you value yourself.
Setting boundaries is a big part of self-care. You absolutely cannot help anyone else if you are not well. If you don’t have the time and space to nurture yourself in whatever form you need, chances are that you will end up cranky, depleted or even sick. Remember that you are important. Value yourself and make your mental, physical and spiritual heath a priority. You’re worth it!
Teaches people to respect your time.
No one should have access to you 24/7. You are not a 1-800 help line or service call center. And most of the time whatever is happening is not a life or death emergency. What you do with your time is no one’s business unless you want to share it with them. I know this is hard because we all have that one person who can be overly demanding. But their urgency is not a reflection of anything you’re doing. It’s a reflection of some internal issues that they need to address.
Protects your energy from people who want to drain it.
There are givers and there are takers in life. That’s just the way it goes. But when you are involved with a taker, something they prey on is the lack of boundaries people have. This makes them one of the hardest people to deal with. Because when you start setting boundaries they tend to get very upset. The reaction can be unsettling and difficult to deal with so most people take the easy route and give in. Which ultimately is giving these people exactly what they want! Remember your needs are important too. Anyone that doesn’t respect the boundaries you set doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
There is also a secondary group of individuals who doesn’t take advantage in the form of assistance or favors. They prefer to do so by having unlimited access to your attention. They are the constant complainers, the Negative Nancy’s or the people who live in the toxic land of drama and chaos. Unfortunately they don’t understand that they are the only ones who can fix these issues. So they come to you and expect you to do it by unloading their life onto you instead.
If you’ve experienced this before you know it is a never-ending energy suck. Which is why setting boundaries on conversations is something you should definitely learn to do. For example: Someone keeps complaining about their romantic partner but isn’t making an effort to fix anything. It’s reasonable to let them know you notice this issue, but that you can no longer have conversations with them about it unless they choose to take some positive actions to improve it. Cutting them off will force them to go elsewhere, or on a more positive note…deal with the problem at hand.