Self-care: Honoring Your Truth
Setting boundaries is one of the most important practices of self-care and can help us learn more about ourselves and our needs. Boundaries serve many functions – they help to protect us and provide a framework or guide that informs others (and ourselves) of our expectations around values, responsibilities and personal interactions. When we establish the right boundaries, often we immediately notice a shift in our relationships and we may even begin to feel more empowered as we learn to protect what matters most to us.
Bringing awareness to our own needs is a true act of honesty, courage and self-care.
Boundaries are essential for maintaining our overall wellbeing and can teach others how to treat us. Healthy relationships are built on boundaries and can help to create mutual respect, so if we fail to establish clear limits, it can create many challenges for us in our relationships. It is our responsibility to communicate and uphold our boundaries while providing the space for others to respond accordingly.
For some people, setting boundaries can feel uncomfortable or foreign at first. It can take practice and courage to communicate and uphold our personal limits. But bringing awareness to our own needs is a true act of honesty, courage and self-care.
The Practice of Setting Boundaries
There are a few ways you can begin setting your limits and empowering yourself. Below are three effective steps you can take to get started.
1. Identify your limits
If you don’t have any boundaries yet, it’s time to start identifying areas of your life where you could use some. Here are four different types of boundaries where you should clearly define your personal limits.
Take a look at these different areas and start considering your personal boundaries around each one. Take some time to reflect and think about past situations or experiences when you may have felt someone crossed the line or made you feel uncomfortable. As you begin to shape your boundaries, remember that your environment, family and social dynamics and beliefs are all factors that can influence the personal limits you put in place.
2. Be honest
The best way to establish your limits once you know them is to be direct with the people around you. If someone is acting inappropriately or making you feel uncomfortable, communicate how you feel and allow the person the space to respond accordingly. If you know someone who is constantly imposing their negative thoughts, beliefs and opinions onto you, limit what you choose to discuss and share with them or pull back on the amount of time you spend with that person. Take an honest inventory of your life and determine what areas need your attention with regard to establishing healthy limits.
3. Prioritize yourself
Once you start developing and communicating your boundaries, your relationships may change. People may not like the new boundaries you set but they should respect them. Some people may not know how to interact with this new version of you. Whatever the case may be, the people who don’t support your growth might end up drifting away, and that’s OK. You’ve created these boundaries because you know how important they are for your overall wellbeing and personal development. Continue to honor your truth and remember that just because some people don’t understand your need for certain boundaries, doesn’t mean they aren’t necessary and important. If you feel inclined, you can have an honest conversation and share your reasons for establishing your boundaries or you can simply choose to uphold your boundaries and move in silence to protect yourself.
Boundaries vary for each individual and are deeply personal. These limits aren’t always obvious and can be challenging to define, establish and uphold but they are necessary and essential for maintaining the wellbeing of ourselves and others.