This blog is for everyone who carries resentment and wants to figure out how to put themselves first and learn how to set their boundaries.
Give yourself permission to set boundaries. You are allowed to have boundaries around what you need, what your goals are, and your time. When you don’t set boundaries you’re exposing yourself to burnout, anxiety, anger, depression and numbing.
“Boundaries are balancing your needs and everyone else’s needs” – Michelle
Why do we fail to set boundaries?
- Not enough mental energy
Where do these fears come from?
People pleasing can cause a lot of conflict here, we fear that people won’t like us as much if we don’t go out of our way. Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria can also play a roll. Saying no can be terrifying because if they reject the boundary, it can play in your head and make you feel awful.
However, these fears also manifest after a lifetime of not having boundaries.
When being raised our parents wanted us to behave and learn, and we don’t have the language to set a boundary yet.
Then you get to school, and it’s normally not permitted for you to turn around and tell the teacher you’re really overwhelmed and need to move to a different task or take a break. You are told what to do and have to follow the rules. No space for boundaries.
When you begin to make friends, you haven’t learned boundaries from past experience yet, so now you begin to piece it together but you probably didn’t have the language to put your boundaries in place.
Then you get to work! If you are in a toxic workplace, there’s a good chance you not going to be able to set really solid boundaries and have them respected. Early in your working life, you’re also probably still figuring out boundary language, especially professional boundaries.
Giving yourself boundaries is an act of self care.
Often if people don’t like you setting boundaries it’s because of two things:
- They are used to you being a certain way
- They don’t like change
Neither of these things are your fault and people do tend to adjust.
Time to set your boundaries
When you set your boundaries they don’t have to be big gestures, arguments or moments. Michelle shared a story where she realised she was ALWAYS the one giving James (her Partner) cups of tea, because she felt she should. She decided to begin an experiment where, for a week, she would ask him to make her cuppas. On the first day, he said, “Yes of course”. He hadn’t noticed that she was always the one making the tea. With boundaries communication is key!
Setting boundaries with yourself
Yes, you can set boundaries with yourself! Setting time caps, limiting your energy on things and pushing yourself to do something are all examples of boundaries with yourself. By setting boundaries with yourself, you are helping yourself to set boundaries with other people.
7 self-boundary examples
- Don’t work outside of work. You don’t owe work your free time.
- If you’re self employed the above STILL STANDS! You can also say no to clients who repeatedly cross boundaries, are rude or even if they want a rush order and that’s just not something you can do.
- Being the default parent – are you really the one the school has to contact for everything? Do you have a partner who you could allocate some of this load to?
- Along the same lines, you don’t have to be the primary cleaner, can you allocate a task? Like in Michelle’s story, people may not have noticed that you always do more cleaning and just need a nudge.
- Putting a timer, lock or a colour layer over your electronics to put boundaries around screen time
- If you’re struggling to look at emails and respond you can set yourself a limit of 10 (or however many) a day
- You do not always need a “productive” reason to say yes to something. Sometimes you need to rest, or spend some time with your kids, or you simply may not want to do the thing.
Where in life do you think you need to set boundaries?
Keep a resentment tracker
To create your own have a notebook, sheet of paper or even the notes app on your phone.
As soon as you notice you’re getting that resentment you get when your boundaries are crossed, WRITE IT DOWN!
Then you’re gonna walk away. Have a cup of tea, grab a snack, go on a walk. Just take a moment out of the situation and calm down.
Then you’re going to get curious! Why did it get to you, what boundary did it cross, have you ever expressed it?
Remember to be compassionate: did you express your boundaries; did you react in the right way? Have compassion for both parties, but especially for yourself.
To learn more about you and you boundarys. check out the part two to this blog!