The course my life has taken has made me realize the importance of healthy boundaries and lately those boundaries have been so heavy on my heart. I am a people pleaser by nature and I often have a hard time holding to my boundaries because I don’t want to hurt anyone. But I have learned that I have to put my happiness, and especially my recovery, first so that everything I love doesn’t have to come last.
Boundaries aren’t set in place to change someone else, they’re created to help allow you to be the healthiest version of yourself. You’re changing yourself every time you set a boundary and that’s why they’re often so hard to keep. It’s also why they are so important.
Odds are my boundaries, and how I keep them in place, are a lot different than yours. I have fought too damn hard for my recovery to allow anyone or anything in my life that may alter that. For me that means holding firm in where I spend my time, what activities I engage in, and who I surround myself with. As a soon-to-be mom I have a whole new set of boundaries that need to be put into place. Like who I allow around my child and making sure that others respect the decisions I make for him (ie feeding, sleeping, touching, etc). And I know I can not be in recovery or be a good mom if I don’t have my happiness, and for me that means putting myself and my self care first. That looks like taking time in my day to just be, going to therapy regularly, and removing anything/anyone who takes away from my joy no matter what. Boundaries are hard. Really, really hard. But they’re too important not to discuss.
Here are some things I have learned about boundaries along the way that I feel are worth sharing:
1.) Never feel bad for setting boundaries that may upset other people. It’s not selfish to put yourself first (in a healthy way), it’s necessary.
2.) You are not responsible for other people’s happiness, you are only responsible for yours. However, this is not a license to be disrespectful. Be considerate, always.
3.) The only people who get upset when you set boundaries are those who benefited from you not having any. Don’t let them get to you.
4.) “No.” is a full sentence. End of story.
5.) “But they’re family” is not a valid excuse. Family can sometimes be harmful, and it’s okay to set boundaries with those in your inner circle.
6.) It’s pointless to set boundaries if you can’t stick to them. It’s easy to feel bad for doing what’s best for you, especially when others don’t understand it. Don’t give in, you know you best.
7.) Evolving involves eliminating. This isn’t a bad thing. You’re constantly growing and sometimes you outgrow things and people. Let it happen.
8.) You can be empathetic and still set boundaries. You can be compassionate and still set boundaries. You can care about someone deeply and still set boundaries. Boundaries aren’t negative.
9.) Pay attention to the people who honor your boundaries as much as you pay attention to the people who ignore them.
10.) Sometimes the person you need to set boundaries with is yourself. Be gentle.
Be brave enough to find the life you want and courageous enough to chase it. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you, and know how to set boundaries that will make you the happiest, healthiest version of yourself possible. You get one life, please take full advantage of it.