“Whatever you are willing to put up with is exactly what you will have.” – Anonymous
As the days have turned cooler, the last thing I want to think about is setting boundaries. I love the cooler weather – you know, the days that you have to wear a sweater but it is okay because you know you can take it off when you are in the warm sun. I love how the crisp air and the warm sun seem to be contradicting one another, yet they make perfect sense to create a beautiful day. Together, they make it seem as though there are no boundaries you cannot overcome.
I am enjoying that the weather has turned crisp and cooler earlier than usual, but at the same time I am grounded in the fact that the only thing we can count on these days is change. Perfect example is how dramatically our world has changed in the past seven months. Can you believe it is almost the end of September already? Anyway, let’s look at some facts.
Fact #1: We are living in uncertain times. Wear a mask or not. Go out or stay home. Stores open for business or not. Get together with others or continue to see people via Zoom.
Fact #2: Negativity abounds while positivity is hard for people to say. Turn on the news – negativity. Go on social media – negativity. Read the headlines – negativity. Listen to people talk about current events – negativity.
Fact #3: Change happens. You can adapt and “roll with the changes” (one of my favorite REO Speedwagon songs) or not. Change is going to happen regardless of what you like or think.
Fact #4: Self-care is not selfish. The mind/body/spirit connection is real, and it is up to you to balance it for yourself. No one else can do it for you.
Fact #5: Wellness begins within you. Since the pandemic began, the conversation has changed to be more about how people can take care of themselves. Interesting…
These facts are nothing more than my simple observations, but powerful indicators of the need to take control of your self-care practices. One of the tools you should have in your self-care toolbox is setting boundaries. “Boundaries are part of self-care. They are healthy, normal and necessary.” Doreen Virtue
The dictionary defines boundaries as a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line. Boundaries are all around you; they are guidelines, rules or limits that allow you to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for you and those around you to behave.
Boundaries can be physical, emotional, even digital.
They exist to hopefully bring peace and harmony to your life. In fact, the more you maintain your boundaries, the more likely you are to achieve your wellness balance.
Physical boundaries are probably the easiest to understand, set and maintain. These may be a room, a yard, a work space. It may be personal space – something social distancing is forcing the world to practice. Physical boundaries can also relate to your body and your privacy, things like standing too close, inappropriate touching, looking through your personal file, going into your personal phone. Like the dictionary definition says, physical boundaries are dividing lines.
Emotional boundaries, on the other hand, are personal and sometimes not as cut and dry as a line in the sand. Personal boundaries deal with emotions; they protect your personal well-being and tell others who you are, what you stand for, and what you will and will not accept. They help separate your feelings from the feelings of others.
Personal boundaries are your very own invisible force field, and you are in charge of setting and protecting it.
Learning to set healthy personal boundaries is key to effective self-care, as they help protect your self esteem, your identity, your relationships; all while helping to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Learning to set effective personal boundaries can help you maintain your values, change your outlook, and raise your positivity levels.
Are there things in your life that make you feel less than or uncomfortable? Are there things that cause you to become resentful or feel stressed, anxious, guilty or fearful? Do you feel underappreciated or taken for granted? Do you feel powerless to make decisions, judged by others, or responsible for others’ feelings? These are all things that need to be managed as part of your self-care boundaries.
And there is no one better qualified to manage your self-care than you!
Does it take work? Yes! Does it take time? Absolutely! Learning to balance your mind/body/spirit connection is not always easy, but when you put in the time and do the work you need to, it can lead to living your best life ever. It all begins with a choice.
My journey to self-care has been unique simply because it is my journey. Although I thought I had been on a pretty good journey for the better part of six and a half years, it wasn’t until I looked inside and asked myself pertinent, although difficult, questions that the direction of my self-care journey changed for the better. I am so honored to share this journey in the #1 bestselling book The Gift of Loss: Transforming Tragedy. The feedback I have received since publishing has humbled and encouraged me to continue to share self-care with others in more ways than I ever imagined.
Once you make the choice to begin, I encourage you to stay the course. Learning to set boundaries as part of your self-care practices will change the way you view some things and enhance your response to others.
Only you can determine what boundaries need to be set, so start asking questions that get to the heart of what you value, what you desire your life to be. Who are you? What are you responsible or not responsible for? What do you like or not like about yourself? What do you value? What will you tolerate or not tolerate?
Start with some easy boundaries
For example: saying no to tasks you do not have time to do; saying yes to help or delegating tasks; speaking up if you feel uncomfortable with the way someone is treating you; saying thank you with no apology, regret or shame. Think about the boundaries you would like to strengthen in your life, and write them down.
Spoiler alert: it won’t be easy. You cannot simply say you are going to set boundaries and think that is all it take. You have to understand why you have set them and what the consequences will be when they are crossed. You have to be willing to be vulnerable with yourself in order to fully embrace the journey and grow.
Setting personal boundaries for self-care is not only important but essential to living the healthy life you desire; remember, your personal boundaries teach others how to treat you. What do you think? Is it worth your time and energy to invest in your own self-care by learning to set healthy boundaries? I think you are an incredible, amazing, valuable individual well worth it, so I have already invested my time in you by sharing my journey, thoughts and experiences with the simple desire to inspire.
When it comes to your wellness, the choice is all yours. You can take responsibility for your health regardless of where you are on your journey. I encourage you to make a choice, and invite you to join me on the journey to self-care. I look forward to hearing from you and meeting you along the way. Until next time, be well…