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Before you realize you find yourself yet again agreeing when you actually wanted to say “no”. The invisible line between you and other people is seemingly fading away, and all that is left is the bitter feeling of regret for saying “yes” once again. A heavy weight settles in your chest with another promise you just made. Yet, there is no one else to blame for the resentment you’re feeling of always putting other people before yourself.
Each time you take on a request when you actually want to decline, you’re allowing people to overstep your boundaries. Boundaries are your own personal guidelines on how you want to be treated and limits you set for yourself to protect your time, energy, and emotional well-being. Boundaries can be both physical or emotional and represent your comfort level/needs/wants. They help to determine which behavior you accept or don’t accept as an individual. They play an important role in your relationships, both with yourself and with others.
Setting boundaries is not selfish, it’s part of your self-care. However, creating boundaries and honoring them is easier said than done. There can be different reasons why you either never have set yourself boundaries or why you easily allow people to cross them, it might be because of low-self esteem, wanting to get approval from others, or growing up in an environment where your boundaries were never considered.
You might feel like you’re letting people down once you start saying “no” and that you’re less lovable, but that is not true. If people don’t value your boundaries, they probably are not the right people to have around because boundaries are part of a successful relationship. They help you feel seen/ heard, respected, and validated within your relationships. People with healthy boundaries understand that, in a relationship, you cannot accommodate each other all the time and fulfill every need of the other.
Essentially your boundaries help you understand your own value and what is important to you. They give you a sense of yourself. What will you tolerate or not tolerate in your life? Which behaviors do you find acceptable or unacceptable? Ask yourself these questions in relation to all the people you meet in your life - your family, your date/partner, your friends, your colleagues, a stranger.
Boundaries also allow you to focus on the things that are important to you, saying “no” to things is allowing you to say “yes” to other things, whether it is spending some time with people who you hold close to your heart, or doing activities that you enjoy. It allows you to take control of your life.
So, listen to the signs your body is sending you in times of discomfort, set boundaries, communicate them clearly with other people, think about consequences in case someone crosses them, and react the way you said you would if someone is stepping over the line. This can help you to erase any feelings of resentment, hurt, anger, and burnout because you no longer feel taken advantage of, taken for granted, or intruded upon.
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