Putting yourself first doesn’t make you selfish, in fact, it should be a priority to set boundaries.
You can only give so much of yourself. We all want to be there for the people that we love and care for, even if it means sacrificing our time and well-being. But that’s where some of us tend to lose ourselves because we are not aware of how much we can give. It may sound heroic or may seem like the right thing to do, but we are all humans with limitations.
It’s all about finding that right balance between our relationships and responsibilities. Focusing on one more than the other could cause great stress which would lead to an unhealthy imbalance in one’s lifestyle. The question arises, how do we maintain this balance between two very important things? Well, we have to set boundaries.
“Your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choices” – Gerard Manley Hopkins
Now, boundaries should not be mistaken with barriers. Think of it this way. Boundaries are like a fence with a gate that only you can open or close. You have the freedom to allow what you believe is best for you and shut out what you know could be detrimental to your well-being. On the other hand, Barriers are like a huge shield that you carry around – always defending yourself from attacks. Having barriers is not peaceful at all and it can induce much anxiety and stress.
Related : Setting boundaries is a whole process that is essential for our mental health, which can be very rewarding in terms of our daily living. Here are steps on Setting Personal Boundaries to Protect Your Mental Health.
So, setting boundaries doesn’t mean you shut people out. It means maintaining what you allow and don’t allow in a relationship. Once you understand and get a good sense of your boundaries, great things are bound to happen in your life.
Here are some of the great things that happen when you set boundaries:
1. You take better care of yourself
Although the term may imply care for only oneself, ‘self-care’ goes beyond just yourself. The way you take care of yourself with the boundaries you set are going to have a positive impact on those around you as well. You are more energetic and effective when you take good care of yourself, which in turn inspires and increases the energy level of the people around you.
2. You become a better friend and partner
Setting boundaries for yourself gives you more time and head-space to reflect and learn from daily situations with your friends and family. It allows you to have more ‘me time’ and gives you the opportunity to grow and add value to your relationships. Those that have a weaker sense of boundaries tend to overstep the boundaries of others, which has a negative impact on their relationships.
3. You start trusting people more
We often find ourselves building relationships without a strong sense of trust with the other person. The root of this doubt that clouds the bond is mostly out of fear or control. We long for love and approval but often don’t realize there’s more to a relationship than just those two. By setting boundaries we develop a sense of trust and respect that becomes mutual, which strengthens the bond in the long run.
4. You learn how to say “No.”
It takes a lot of strength to say ‘no’, especially in this day and age when the best of times are highlighted and available to be seen on social media. It becomes almost instantaneous to simply say ‘yes’ to every event you’re invited to. But often these are only short term satisfactions and long term resentments.
Saying ‘No’ can be terribly uncomfortable, awkward and maybe sound rude even. But with practice it can be said politely. By saying ‘no’ you are making people aware of your boundaries, which builds a sense of mutual respect and trust. It is better to choose a moment of discomfort over a prolonged period of resentment.
5. You become a more understanding person.
The people with the most compassion and greatest level of understanding people tend to be the ones who have set the most firm boundaries. It is all because they have such compassion for themselves and they are able to identify and act accordingly to the boundaries set by others as well.