Why Are Boundaries Important?
Updated: Jul 7, 2020
Disrespected, talked over, cut off, ignored, looked over… sound familiar? After reading this post, I hope you never have this done to you or you feel this way again. Why? We’re talking about setting personal boundaries in this post!
What Are Personal Boundaries?
In doing research for this topic, I came across a sh!t ton of definitions for personal boundaries, but felt this one from EssentialLifeSkills.net worked best. They state that, “personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They allow us to separate who we are, and what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others.”
See how this definition fits? Just because we struggle with a mental illness, does not mean we need to be treated negatively and with disrespect.
I found sooooo many articles that talked about the need for relatives to set boundaries with family members who have a mental illness and very few articles about those with a mental illness having to set boundaries with their loved ones. Don’t get me wrong, depending where you are in your journey, it may be necessary for your loved ones to set boundaries with you. Having a mental illness is not a reason to be mistreated, but it’s not an excuse for you to mistreat others. With that being said, there is a need to set effective personal boundaries.
Let’s get into it!
Why Are Personal Boundaries Important?
Mental illness aside, if you feel that you don’t have healthy relationships, it’s time for you to set personal boundaries. Establishing guidelines of how you want to be treated is WHY it’s important to have personal boundaries. You are letting people know how they are to behave around you. One of the greatest quotes I heard, was from Oprah or from Dr. Phil, I can’t remember, but one of them said, “You teach people how to treat you.” Take a moment and think…. what have you taught people about how to treat you? Now think, how can you change this?
Signs You Have Poor Boundaries
I wanted to include these signs because sometimes we’re not honest with ourselves and have to be reminded of how we contribute to our own downfall.
You fail to speak up when you’re treated badly
You give away too much of your time
You agree with a person when you actually feel like disagreeing
You say “yes” to a person when you want to say “no”
You feel guilty for dedicating time to yourself
You feel taken for granted by others
You permit people to touch you when you feel uncomfortable or want them to stop
You have toxic relationships (i.e. you are always giving, and the other is always taking)
You make too many grand sacrifices for others at your own expense
You are passive aggressive and might have manipulative tendencies (as a way of trying to regain your lost power)
You constantly feel like the victim
You feel like you have to “earn” respect by being nice
You over-share details about your life with others
You feel guilty when others aren’t happy (as if you’re responsible)
You are what other people want/need you to be, and not who YOU need to be
You’re out of touch with your needs
You attract people who try to control or dominate you
You have chronic fear about what others think of you
OUCH! That hurt. The old folks used to say, ‘A hit dog will holla.’ I was going to narrow down the list (thank you LoneWolf.com), but it was too good to cut short. How many of these are you? One of mine is feeling guilty for taking time to myself - I know I need to rest, but feel guilty, I know I should take time to meditate, but feel guilty. I can’t even say I’m working on it because as I type this at 10:19, I know I should be in bed, bbbbuuuttt I wanna finish this post. See, I have work to do too!
Side-note: There are common traits of personal boundaries. Let me give you an example:
If I could give a visual, imagine you are standing in front of a wall and people are on the other side
Rigid - lets no one through the wall
Porous - others can push through the wall
Non-existent - there is no wall, no barrier, nothing stopping people from getting to you
Healthy - there is a door in the wall and you determined how it’s opened and when it’s closed
What trait are you? Throughout my life I’ve been all of them, but at this moment as I sit here at 10:39 still typing, I would say I can be between rigid and healthy. I’m distrustful by nature, and don’t like letting people in, but experience has told me that sometimes I need to let people in. Being on this mental health journey, I learned I had to in order for me to get better. I needed help from professionals and family that wanted to see me get better. It wasn’t easy, but I did and I’m better for it.
How to Set Effective Boundaries
If you click HERE, you can use the FREE printable that will guide you in setting effective boundaries.
Benefits of Boundary Setting
I always like to include this section in my blog, because I believe if you know what the benefits are, you will be motivated to take the first step.
So with that being said, here are a few benefits of setting boundaries:
Gained respect from others
You’re more self aware
Less resentment and anger
Your needs are met
I always say that small steps can lead to big changes and if you feel that people are not respecting you, it’s time to start advocating for yourself. Setting effective boundaries is a form of self care and taking care of yourself is NOT selfish.
My 2 Cents
If you find yourself having poor boundaries, then you need to make setting boundaries part of your mental health goals ASAP!
Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, remember, you teach people how to treat you.
Respecting boundaries goes both ways so, make sure you are respecting other people's boundaries.
Know that when you assert yourself, there might be pushback. You need to prepare for this and you should have an action plan for when it happens. This step is included in the FREE printable, click HERE.
Make sure you communicate what your boundaries are and let them know when they have crossed them - ask for them to respect and support them
Remember Brown Girl! You got this and you are not alone!
Did you know that I now have a podcast? It's called, For My BrownGirls! Podcast and you can listen to it HERE!
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I am not a licensed therapist and this post does not serve as a form a therapy.
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