R-E-S-P-E-C-T is something you PERMIT! (I hope you are totally hearing Ms. Aretha Franklin in your head now!!)
When you first start practicing boundary setting, it can feel challenging. You might feel guilty, afraid, or self-conscious – but it’s important to remember that setting limits will help make relationships healthier in the long-run.
Let’s look at how you can begin your journey to increase self-respect with healthy boundaries.
You deserve to have boundaries: While it might feel awkward to say ‘no’ to a family member or speak your truth about a situation, it’s essential to do so. Others also deserve to know what those boundaries are so that they don’t mistakenly overstep them!
Use your voice: Think of a time that you felt cornered, stressed, or taken advantage of. Did you speak up? If not, what stopped you? If you did, did you first feel hesitant? Ask why, because the bottom line is this: You deserve to be comfortable in everyday situations as often as possible. If you have the opportunity to make your day easier or less stressful, why not do it?
Create healthy routines: Sometimes, we’re so used to be being pushed past our breaking point that we don’t even realize it is happening. Take the time now to check in and notice how you feel about your regular routines. While setting boundaries in the first place is a form of self-care, it’s also important to provide yourself support in other ways. Once you get into the habit of things like feeding yourself healthy foods, allowing yourself adequate rest, and doing things that make you feel happy and fulfilled, you’re automatically in a better state physically and mentally.
You have to realize just how valuable you are to break the cycle of not showing up for yourself because no other action will command as much power as this one.
A social circle is round: The definition of a circle is “a round plane figure whose boundary (the circumference) consists of points equidistant from a fixed point (the center)”. Guess who is at the center of your very own social circle? YOU! You get to choose who should be around you. Is there a person in your life who can be particularly aggressive? Maybe they try and push you to do things you’d rather not and you’ve decided that it’s easier to go along with it than resist. Also, think about whether the relationships you have with people are reciprocal – is there a healthy give and take?
Finally, consider your work environment – is it normal for your coworkers to work beyond the 8-hour workday? This feeling of wanting to measure up could be wreaking havoc on your physical and mental health. Consider your feelings as you interact with people this week, and speak up accordingly!
Are you having trouble with creating boundaries? Ask for support! With friends or family, be open about wanting to set limits and open the channels of communication. If things don’t change, consider reaching out to a counselor or another outside resource such as your minister or a health coach. The role of a health coach includes guidance on boundaries, self-care and personal/career relationships. Who would you ask to help support you? I’m here as a guide for you now — don’t hesitate to reach out!