Let’s talk about boundaries, specifically, setting boundaries as an adult.
With that specificity, I should be totally transparent. If I ever set boundaries before my thirties, I never recognized them or acknowledged that they are a healthy way to be clear about your wants and needs.
Boundary: something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent.
To be honest, I feel like I have only had the tools and knowledge to set healthy boundaries for myself in the last couple of years. It’s both important and even more difficult to change old habits and relationships when we’re established adults. We’ve spent years acting a certain way and allowing others to act a certain way around us, it’s so easy to get lost in patterns. Of self-doubt and false security, not realizing what’s truly best for our own mental health and well-being.
Are you following?
Just in case you’re not, I’m going to tell you a little story.
I wrote a book. My purpose in writing was to gather my thoughts from growing up and transitioning into adulthood and then motherhood, and write them in a collection of letters to my best friend Rachael, who is no longer around to experience a lot of it with me. When I started writing my book, I had a frank conversation with Brad about it. If I was going to do it, I needed to decide whether to be completely honest in my feelings and memories regarding things that have happened in the past, even when they relate to other people. Specifically, when those people won’t want to hear what I have to say. I felt a pull to write, not just my memoir, but in general. I realized that I am a writer, I always have been, and right around the time I decided to self-publish my memoir, I decided to write it all.
Talking about everything, good and bad, would likely hurt some people. I recognized this, I still do. As soon as my fingers hit the keys and I allowed myself to write my truth, I felt a release. Of the guilt I had carried for far too long, the memories that I let sit on my conscience and had unintentionally allowed to shape my life and who I had become.
Enter my first boundary: I refused to hide from my truth any more. I allowed myself to talk about the hard things without feeling like I was in the wrong. With Brad, with my family, with everyone.
Since setting this first and very important boundary for myself, things have changed. I am happier, I am less shy when it comes to discussing feelings and needs (my own and those of others!) and I know with certainty that I am on the right path. Don’t get me wrong, the journey to getting to a place where I am setting boundaries more often and with confidence has been hard. After publishing my book, relationships changed. But the mere fact that close relationships have changed without a mature conversation about what I’ve done or said to hurt people, has solidified my resolve that I am doing what’s right for me.
There’s no going back now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Follow the path, or create your own?
So, tell me. Are you familiar with setting boundaries in your relationships? Is it hard sometimes?
I feel like if the answer to that second question is yes, that you’re doing something right. And I hope that everyone is able to put themselves first, and start to do it more often than not.
What’s that super annoying (mostly because it’s true) saying going around lately?
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Fill yours first,
PS:Let me know if you want to read more about boundaries and how I have integrated them into my life. I am an open book.