How to Practice Self-Love By Setting Healthy Boundaries
They say that pain is an effective teacher, and through pain, we are forced to look at the situations and people causing it, ultimately requiring us to alter our decisions. Like most, I have had my fair share of pain, and because of it, I have learned valuable lessons that have helped me create solid and healthy boundaries.
Boundaries are rules and guidelines that one places to help distinguish the behaviors and actions they will and will not tolerate.
Establishing and maintaining boundaries for ourselves is pivotal during the self-love journey. They help to create a healthier relationship with ourselves and with others. All while protecting us from destructive people, patterns, and habits. The global pandemic made most of us aware of the necessity to establish boundaries in our everyday lives. And the effects from the work from home order caused many of our personal and professional lives to blend into one, which normalized the idea that it was acceptable to conduct business after traditional office hours. These situations highlight the importance of establishing clear boundaries and will help us keep our sanity and maintain our inner peace.
The Different Types of Boundaries
This is an important boundary that we women must establish and master immediately. We tend to be the healers and nurturers of our families, and if you are a Cancer like me, chances are you play that role in other interpersonal relationships. It is important to remain cautious and reserve our emotional energy because it can take an emotional toll having to share it consistently. This boundary requires one to communicate whether or not they are in the mindset to take on others' emotions. And it requires you to validate the feelings of others when we choose to engage.
Ways to communicate our emotional boundaries may sound like:
I’ve had a bad day and would love to speak with you about it. Are you in the place to listen?
I’m sorry to hear that your day isn’t going well, but I’m not in the mindset to discuss it now. Can we speak tomorrow (or another day more convenient)?
The global pandemic and exhausting election have highlighted the importance of prioritizing our mental health, and our mental boundaries require us to communicate our mental health needs. Doing this may look like taking a step back from mentally draining relationships or allowing ourselves to take a mental health day when we feel stressed and overwhelmed.
Stand firm in the boundaries you create and don’t feel bad for taking the necessary actions required to maintain your mental peace. The mind is a hard thing to mend once it breaks.
These boundaries consist of our physical needs and our need for personal space. It requires us to be vocal on things that make us feel uncomfortable physically. If a break is necessary to nourish the body, do it. If extra rest is needed, get some. Catering to these physical needs will help optimize our performance in both our professional and personal lives. One of the good things about the pandemic was the 6ft distancing mandate, forcing people to honor the physical boundaries of others. This is a boundary I have continued to implement in my life because allowing enough distance between myself and someone with who I am unfamiliar makes me feel safe.
How to Identify Your Needs to Create Solid Boundaries
The first step in creating a boundary requires us to ask ourselves what are the things that we need to feel safe. Next, we need to ask ourselves what are the things and actions that don’t. This will help us establish a solid foundation and aid in the creation process. It isn’t always an easy task, and sometimes having to communicate our boundaries can be difficult, especially if there weren't any role models in life to offer guidance.
One of the easiest ways to determine what is needed to feel safe is by identifying and reflecting on our feelings. Our feelings help identify the behaviors and situations that make us feel unprotected. An example would be recognizing how we feel when someone raises their voice in an argument or when someone we love makes harsh comments and criticizes us constantly. If those situations make you feel scared, unprotected and leave you with a negative self-image it is crucial to have a conversation with them about your boundaries. Explain to them that for you to feel protected and valued, they must communicate disagreements and frustrations more healthily and refrain from making harsh and unnecessary comments. If the behavior proceeds, you will need to choose how you will protect yourself from their behavior by creating a consequence.
Establishing Consequences When Boundaries are Violated
For others to take our boundaries seriously we must create consequences for when certain lines get crossed. It can be difficult to implement them and sometimes may lead to termination in a relationship if the punishment requires it. Just remember, those that truly love and value you will respect your boundaries.
A boundary with no consequence is merely a suggestion.
These consequences can be customized based on the offense and need to be communicated with people when trying to approach your boundaries or cross them the first time. If you are having difficultly communicating your boundaries and the consequences that are associated with them, I recommend that you evaluate your throat chakra. Blockage in this chakra will hinder you from speaking about the things you need to feel safe. Some great tips that can help rebuild and balance this chakra include:
Throat chakra affirmations
Yoga & neck stretches
Wearing the color blue
Mediating with Lapis and Sodalite
Sometimes a consequence will require you to choose yourself and terminate a relationship, which can be extremely difficult. However, it will be necessary for the long run if you feel that the effects from the toxic relationship will hinder your growth and will continue to feed self-doubt or a negative self-image.
Your boundaries are not up for negotiation.
Stand firm when it comes to your boundaries and what it is that you need. Do not allow others to manipulate you into abandoning the boundaries you created for your well-being.
Many benefits come with establishing clear boundaries. They help maintain peace of mind, decrease frustration and anger levels, honor our needs and contribute to our overall self-care journey. The more time we spend with ourselves and the greater our love for ourselves becomes, the easier it will be to establish, communicate, and defend our boundaries.
We can not properly take care of ourselves if we aren’t protecting ourselves from toxic relationships, habits, and patterns. It behooves us to look at the boundaries we currently have and alter them to help us always feel protected.
Creating boundaries is the ultimate form of self-love and is necessary for the self-care journey.
MEAGAN A. CULBERSON
Meagan is the Creator and Founder of SingleGirlClub.com. She strives to create content that will help encourage single women to build better relationships with themselves and inspire them to work towards their personal goals. Additionally, she is an aspiring film and tv producer and resides in Los Angeles, California.