Setting BoundariesOct 15, 2021
Sometimes we can find ourselves in situations where we aren't sure how to set and enforce our boundaries. If we are a people-pleaser, it can be a struggle with setting and enforcing boundaries because we don't want to say no to people. Worrying that enforcing the boundary will cause people to become displeased and no longer like us. Maybe, we also don't want to view ourselves as someone who is unwilling to help and inflexible.
From a young age, we're conditioned to believe that you should do this task because mom wants you to do it, or that you would be a good person if you do it. It creates this codependency that gives those feelings that if we give and give, then this person will give us the validation that we want. We are conditioned to give when people ask without regarding our own emotional load. Because we are conditioned to be giving, we often don’t look at whether we are helping because we want to or because we feel pressured to. Think of instances in your life where you were asked or expected to do something. A time at work where you were asked to come in on a day off to take on additional tasks. Or a time at home where you were expected to not only take care of the kids, but run the errands, clean the house, cook dinner, help with homework, and so on. This is when it is important to start setting and enforcing those boundaries.
It is important to have a balance between being a giving person and learning how to take care of ourselves. As a society, we get it a little twisted where we focus on giving so much to other people that we don't know how to give to ourselves.
When starting to set boundaries, ask yourself, "Is this something I want to do? Is this good for me?" It's a great thing to want to help people, but when you're depleted and you’re overwhelmed, helping can be more draining. When you're exhausted, it's easy to become resentful because you can begin feeling that you are the only one giving. Resentful that your partner or friend is not pulling their weight in this relationship and trying to meet you in the middle. There will be people who will try and manipulate you, but there will be other people who are simply not aware that they are taking advantage of you. They know that they want help, and you always say yes. When we are consistently picking up the slack or helping someone, we can begin to enable them. They become so used to our help that they don't work to help themselves.
The biggest thing with boundaries is learning to say no and not needing to give explanations. When we need to explain and justify our reason, we are doing that because we feel guilty and hope that the other person will see these reasons as valid and not be upset with us. You don't need to over-explain why you can't or don't want to do this right now. If the person cares and respects you, they will respect your no. There are growing pains when setting boundaries. People may be more familiar with a certain version of "yes" you and may not even be consciously aware that they are being manipulative or guilting you into helping them. When they ask for help, you don't need to answer them right away. You can say, "I might be able to help; Let me get back to you." That way, you can have some time to think and ask yourself if this is good for you to do and if this needs to be done now.
Enforcing your boundaries is also about teaching people how you want to be treated. When someone begins to push and starts to become abusive or manipulative, say, "Hey, I'm feeling the push, and I don't like it." If they continue to push, you can say, "I'm sorry, but I just can't do that." Then disengage from the conversation. It's okay to put yourself first sometimes, especially if you have been giving a lot. Every day you should check in with yourself. If it's been a while, give yourself something. Spend time outdoors, take a walk, or spend quality time with the family for a little bit. Some days will be busier than others and require more from you. Make sure to check in with yourself, look at how your feeling, what you need, and if your boundaries are being respected.