How To Fall More In Love With Your Life By Setting Boundaries
The people-pleasing era is gone: say goodbye to going to events that you really don’t want to be at, spending time with people that don’t bring you joy, and burning yourself out to meet the expectations of others.
Sparking more joy in your life can be done in a variety of ways, but one of the most effective ways to do this is by setting boundaries - yes, saying no to things and being clear about what you will and won’t accept in your life brings unsurmountable feelings of joy!
In this article, we’re going to tell you exactly how you can fall more in love with your life by setting boundaries across several aspects of your life: your friendships and family relationships, your romantic relationships, and yourself. Even if you’re an expert people-pleaser and struggle with saying “no”, this article is here to hold your hand and teach you exactly how you can set effective boundaries!
What Are Boundaries?
Boundaries, or more specifically, personal boundaries, are imaginary lines that we set ourselves in roder to support and protect our values. From saying no to consuming certain products to deciding that you won’t continue a relationship because of they way that person treats you, boundaries come in all shapes, sizes, and severities.
Although you may have a whole host of personal values that you uphold, mentally setting boundaries can help you to not only ensure you’re protecting yourself in the best way possible, but it can also help you to actively communicate what you need/want/won’t tolerate in your life.
Why Boundaries Are So Important: Putting Your Oxygen Mask On First
Boundaries are incredibly important for a few reasons - they ensure you don’t compromise your values, they reduce the likelihood of experiencing burnout, and they help us more content in our life.
Essentially, the best way to explain how boundaries benefit you is by thinking about when they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask on the plane before helping anyone else.
Do you know why they do this? Well, it’s because you can’t function in your best way or give people the care that you want to give them if you aren’t taking care of yourself first! Setting boundaries is the best way to ensure that you’re putting your metaphorical oxygen mask on first - they allow you to take care of yourself and show yourself a level of respect that then ensures you can give your best self to those around you and the wider world as a whole!
How To Create Boundaries
Whilst we’re going to discuss how you can approach setting boundaries with various people in your life and in different aspects of your life, it’s important to first understand how you can create boundaries for yourself in the first place.
Here are the two most important things you need to think about if you’re looking to create boundaries:
“What Are My Values?"
As mentioned above, you put boundaries in place in order to protect and support your values. So, it only makes sense that you first need to get clear on what your values are! Think about what you need from relationships, what you want your life to be like (on a daily basis, not just in a daydream state), what ideas want to uphold, and what things truly make you feel comforted, secure, and happy.
“What Do I Need To Protect Myself From?"
Once you know what your values are, it’s time to think about how you can protect your values from being impeached! This can be especially simple if you already understand what triggers you and makes you feel uneasy. For example, if one of your values is that you love how comfortable you are in your body but you know that other people talking negatively about body image can bring up negative emotions for you and stop you from loving your body, you can protect yourself by setting a boundary that you won’t spend time with those who speak negatively about body image (whether yours, theirs, or others).
As soon as you know what your values are and what you need to protect yourself from in order to support your values, you can set your boundaries and move forward knowing exactly what they are.
Setting Boundaries With Friends and Family:
Your friends and family are often your most obvious support network, the people who surround you most often, and the people you tend to rely on the most.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be setting boundaries with them.
Whether you’re dealing with difficult comments from family members regarding a choice you made, you feel like your friends are taking advantage of your kindness, or you you struggle to be around a loved one because they simply don’t value your needs, here are three tips you can use to set boundaries with friends and family members:
ACTIVELY COMMUNICATE YOUR BOUNDARIES WITH THEM
The first thing you need to do when setting boundaries with loved ones is actively communicate your boundaries to them - they’re not mind readers and they won’t know be able to respect your boundaries if they don’t know what they are.
TELL THEM YOU CARE ABOUT THEM BUT THAT YOUR NEEDS ARE IMPORTANT TOO
If your boundaries are crossed, it’s important to tell your loved ones that whilst you care about them you can’t allow yourself to have your boundaries crossed - tell them that your needs are important too and that they have to respect them. This point is especially important when it comes to older family members and others who think their needs are superior to yours.
BECOME MORE ASSERTIVE AND BE WILLING TO WALK AWAY IF BOUNDARIES ARE CROSSED.
Whilst you may love your friends and family dearly, it’s important to be assertive when it comes to the boundaries you set. If one of your loved ones is regularly crossing your boundaries, don’t feel nervous about taking a break from seeing them for a while or walking away for good.
Setting Boundaries In Romantic Relationships:
Romantic relationships are typically the most intimate relationships we have in our lives and whether you’re simply hooking up with someone, have a monogamous relationship, or you have a number of partners, it’s important to set boundaries in all of the romantic relationships we experience.
BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR BOUNDARIES FROM THE START
Of course, boundaries may develop and change whilst you’re in a romantic relationship with someone, but ideally you should go into a romantic relationship with knowledge of what your boundaries are and be clear about them to your new partner from the very beginning. Romantic relationships are often different from friend and family relationships because they can come and go, whereas friends and family are typically always have (or have been for a long time) been there. Therefore, boundaries need to be communicated from the very beginning!
RETAIN YOUR INDEPENDENCE
Whilst retaining your independence within a relationship is important for many reasons, it’s especially important when it comes to standing by and upholding your boundaries. In relationships, especially in the “honeymoon stage” you and your new partner may become more alike than different and you may be tempted to let boundaries slide but it’s incredibly important that you retain your independence and stand by your boundaries to ensure you’re truly living a life that you’re happy with as an individual, even if you’re involved in a romantic relationship.
UNDERSTAND THAT SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T RESPECT YOUR BOUNDARIES ISN'T FOR YOU.
Setting and standing by your boundaries isn’t only normal, but it proves that you have the self-awareness to protect yourself and uphold your own beliefs. So, if someone in a romantic relationship isn’t respecting your boundaries, it might be time to ask, “are they respecting me?”. If you find yourself in a situation where you have communicated your boundaries clearly time and time again, the relationship may not be set on the strong foundation you thought it was.
Setting Boundaries With Yourself:
Setting boundaries with others might be difficult, but setting boundaries with yourself is one of the hardest things to do because it so easy to cross your own boundaries.
Whether you’ve set a boundary to not text that guy that you know is bad for you or you don’t want to keep spending money on things that don’t truly bring you joy, setting boundaries with yourself is not only important, but it might actually be one of the most impactful ways to use boundary setting!
CREATE BOUNDARIES FOR YOURSELF AND CONTINUE TO REVIEW OVER TIME.
If you’re creating boundaries for yourself, a great thing to do is to actually sit and write these boundaries down so that you can not only get your thoughts onto paper but so that you can also visibly see them (which makes it more likely you’ll stick by them!). Once you’ve created your list of boundaries, make sure to keep reviewing the list, updating it, and altering it over time - as time goes on you may need to make changes or set new boundaries and this is perfectly normal!
REMEMBER THAT SETTING A BOUNDARY WITH YOURSELF REQUIRES SELF-DISCIPLINE.
A lot of the time when people make their goals happen, whether that’s heading to the gym on a regular basis or working on a new business, they use the term “motivation” to describe why they’re doing what they’re doing or how they came about to find success. The truth is, motivation is a tiny part of action. Instead, self-discipline is what makes real action occur. When it comes to setting boundaries with yourself, self-discipline is the most important tool you can try to master to ensure you’re sticking to your boundaries and enforcing them. Just remember to be kind to yourself when practicing self discipline - it’s not useful when done out of a place of negativity or guilt.
RECOGNISE HOW SELF-AWARE YOU ARE AND CONGRATULATE YOURSELF FOR PUTTING YOUR NEEDS FIRST.
Setting boundaries with yourself is super difficult and it’s important that you recognise and truly appreciate not only how self-aware you are to even put boundaries in place by yourself in the first place. Additionally, celebrate the fact that you’re respecting your own values and needs, prioritising self-love and self-care in a new, impactful manner.
Setting Boundaries Has Never Sounded Better!
Creating and setting boundaries really doesn’t need to be an overwhelming or scary thing to do: it’s simply about putting imaginary lines in place that you don’t allow people or situations to cross in order to support your own wellbeing and uphold what you value the most.
Just remember to be kind to yourself if you’re setting boundaries for the first time and it’s OK if you’re not “the best” at it from the very beginning - it’s a process and it’s time to enjoy the ride knowing that you’re doing this all for you.