2 Important Questions to Ask Yourself When Setting Boundaries
The way I see it, loving yourself essentially comes down to having boundaries. Boundaries between yourself and others, between yourself and work, between yourself and…yourself.
Ultimately it’s about taking a stand for yourself when your inner critic tells you that everyone else is more important than you.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that one of my first symptoms of my thyroid problem started not too long after an experience I had where I basically allowed someone to stomp all over my boundaries. I knew it was one of those moments where I was making a decision that would affect me on a spiritual level. I knew it. Yet I still chose not to respect my boundaries.
From that moment on, I knew there was a part of my body and soul that just up and left. If I wasn’t going to love myself enough to demand respect from someone else, then it didn’t want to be a part of me anymore.
For years, I felt the ramifications of that decision. Eventually though, I began to take a stand for myself again. I began to set up some boundaries, make decisions about who I was and what kind of life I wanted to live.
Now I find myself once again at a moment of spiritual crossroads. I know I’ve allowed myself to slip into boundary-less land. Working all the time (which also results in not having the energy to work efficiently), giving too much of myself without making sure I’m also being taken care of, continuing to do things that clearly result in pain (sitting at the computer all day, skipping yoga and walks), and ultimately not creating a safe space for me. The me that exists independent of my job, my boyfriend, my family, and what I’m cooking for dinner.
Does such a thing even exist? Do I exist without all of these things?
Of course I do. My body reminds me daily. The further I slip away from my boundaries, the more my body yells at me in one way or another. Whether it’s weight gain, wrist pain, back pain, headaches, or any other number of things, my body is like an alarm, shrilly beeping when I veer too far off course.
My body reminds me to get back to who I am, to create safe spaces for myself, and to say, “Hey, I exist too, and it’s okay to take care of myself.” It’s about loving who I am, without letting all that other stuff get in the way.
Can you relate?
I know that this is not just me. I hear it from so many women. What’s going on with our bodies is always related on some level to the boundaries we’ve placed around us. Sometimes too many, sometimes too few, sometimes the wrong kind and for the wrong reason.
So how do you set up clear boundaries and how can you be sure you’re setting the right boundaries?
- What truly matters? Always start with the big picture. Look at your life, what matters, and what your goals are. Then ask yourself if there are any things you’re continually doing or taking on that don’t contribute to the big picture. If it doesn’t truly matter, let it go.
- How can I simplify things? Once you’ve let go of whatever doesn’t matter, look at what’s left. Ask yourself how you can simplify everything in your life. We all have a tendency to overcomplicate things and create more work for ourselves than we need to. So take some time to look at your activities and see which ones can be simplified so that they’re in service to your big picture without taking all your energy.
And of course, when it comes to setting boundaries, practice saying no.