Boundaries are so important and vital to your mental health. Boundaries can be defined as the limits we set with other people, which indicate what we find acceptable and unacceptable in their behavior towards us. It may not seem likely, but boundaries and self-care go hand-in-hand. YOUR boundaries are all about YOU! Boundaries assist you with maintaining your mental and emotional peace. They remind you to put yourself and your needs first. When you set and honor the boundaries you create for yourself, you remove the likelihood that you will make decision from an emotional space. For example, if you have a boundary related to the amount of money you loan to a friend and friend comes to you asking to borrow money beyond that boundary, it is easy to allow your emotions related to the situation to take over. You may end up going against your boundary because you feel sad or empathic for your friend and their situation. So you break your boundary, loan them the money, and feel upset with yourself for breaking the boundary that you set. What if you would decided to honor your boundary instead? You can still assist your friend with getting the money that they need from another source and maintain your boundary.
Setting and honoring boundaries can show you how much you trust yourself. How? Using the same example of having a boundary related to loaning money to friends, when it is time for you honor that boundary and you choose to be flexible with it instead, you just broke a promise that you made to yourself. When other people break promises/agreements with you, it is har for you trust them, right. That applies to the agreements you make with yourself as well. Boundaries are an agreement that you make with yourself first.
If you have some boundaries that you have a challenging time honoring, maybe its time to shift that boundary. Trial and error is an important part of the boundary setting process. You won't know how consistent you will be with honoring a boundary until the opportunity presents itself. If you need to shift or adjust along the way, have the flexibility to do so.
What boundaries do you honor each and every time? Which boundaries are more challenging for you to honor consistently?
Erica James-Strayhorn, LMFT