Hello! I wanted to write about boundaries because I come from a family where boundaries were never clear. This made me insecure about how I should behave or what I should do in different circumstances many times.
I’ve been in therapy for some years now, and what I’ve learned about boundaries is that they make you feel safe. Being sure about what will happen most of the time allows me to focus on trying to understand and work on other issues because I am sure nothing bad will happen.
Now I know that when the brain is not in constant stress, it will start working miracles. The same brain that was always in a constant fight-or-flight mode is now busy creating neuronal connections. So, it’s actually cool. I want my brain to concentrate on the important things, and let’s say it: it has worked so well that it deserves this rest.
So, if you are also working on yourself and want to become a boundary-setting healthy person, first of all, congratulations for embarking on this journey. Your commitment to personal growth and stronger relationships is food for the soul and will never be a waste of time.
When I started trying to understand boundaries, one of my first questions was: “How far can I take this?”
Setting boundaries is not always a straight path, let me tell you. Saying “no” firmly and communicating assertively sounds simple, but it’s not always easy. Among other things, I found two difficulties:
- Reinforcement. Sometimes, you have to repeat yourself to get your boundaries across. It’s like teaching your cat not to scratch the couch – not everyone wants to change, and not everyone wants you to change.
- Reciprocity. It’s a bit like a negotiation. You set your boundaries, but you also have to respect the boundaries others set for you. It’s a two-way street. I have forgotten many times that I have to respect some boundaries even if I’m tired, don’t feel like it, or feel they are unhealthy boundaries.
The Challenge of Boundary Setting
Setting boundaries can be intimidating. It’s hard work, and there is no clear path. I’m right here trying to figure it all out. The only clear thing is that boundaries should be few and precise.
I have a lot of trouble saying no. I keep trying to please people. I even accept to carry other people’s bags because sometimes it’s easier than dealing with conflict. But I try to remember every time how good it feels to prioritize myself. After a while, suddenly your life can start changing. For some people, it takes months; in my case, it’s been years of therapy.
I might bring up this quote again in future writings because it explains everything, and I heard it from someone special: “This too shall pass.” I’m not sure every new phase of me will be able to set healthy boundaries, but I’ll try to remember the strong times and the rewards they bring.
An Act of Love
Setting boundaries is a loving act toward your relationships. It’s like saying, “I cherish what we have, and I want it to be clear and clean. Tell me how to treat you so that you feel safe with me, and I’ll tell you what bothers me so there is the least possible conflict between us.”
And hey, don’t overwhelm yourself if you break them before mastering them. Every new beginning starts with one more tool, and now you know what not to try. My approach? I keep it simple. My one non-negotiable boundary is doing my Duolingo lessons before bed. It’s my way of saying, “I’ve got this!” That gives me a sense of reward and helps me keep going.
As I said before, clear boundaries will never be a waste of time. They show you care about your relationships and, more importantly, about yourself.
Remember, this boundary-setting thing is a marathon, not a sprint. As you get better at it, you’ll feel more in control and empowered. So, go ahead and embrace the journey of setting healthy boundaries.
Don’t forget to pamper yourself. Effective boundaries start with a happy, healthy you.
Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.