Updated: Jul 29, 2020
Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries.... what are they and why are they necessary?
Simply put, personal Boundaries are a mixture of mental, emotional, and physical limits that we create in order to protect ourselves from being violated, manipulated, used, or disrespected by others. Our boundaries both directly and indirectly set the tone for how we require those around us to treat us. These boundaries aren't universal and they don't apply to just one type of relationship in our lives. Creating healthy boundaries is essential and needed within every relationship we have with every person and thing in our lives.
There's so many phrases and old sayings that come into mind when I think of the subject "boundaries". However, one phrase that always stands out is "Be careful what you allow, you're teaching them how to treat you." This goes back to my earlier statement that our boundaries directly and indirectly set the tone for how we require others to treat us. Whether it be a friend, job leadership, family, or a romantic partner... it's our personal responsibility to make sure that we're being handled and treated the way that we desire to be handled and treated.
As nice and thoughtful as it would be, most people generally aren't going to treat you poorly, notice it, and intentionally make it a priority to change it swiftly. As great and ideal as this sounds, the reality is that life doesn't usually work this way. Especially if you're dealing with an individual that purposely and repeatedly tests their limit with you. As an individual, it is important that you mentally make note of things and behaviors that you like and dislike from others. Of course the things that you like or dislike may vary based on who they're applying to. For example, the boundaries you set within friendships won't be exactly the same as the boundaries you set with family members or within your romantic relationships.
No matter when or where, every interaction that you have with another person requires boundaries. We innately exercise a lot of boundaries without even noticing, just based on the things we will or won't do or say around certain individuals. However, when accounting for the people that are regularly a part of our daily life, we often have to go even further and verbally express what we will and won't allow. This is important, because it's way too often that people become upset at how others treat them, yet they didn't have any prior boundaries in place. When you create healthy boundaries, you encounter less disappointments and frustrating situations.
For example : When you are dating and have outlined your do's and don't's to the individual(s) you are dating, they know exactly how they can and can't handle you. Therefore, there's always only two outcomes of how your relationship(s) will go. The person will either 1). Adjust to your boundaries and handle you accordingly because they value and respect you OR 2). They'll end up removing themselves or you'll end up removing them due to their lack of adherence to your boundaries. What you allow is ALWAYS what will continue. When you don't demand that people treat you a certain way or demand that they handle you with care, then you invite them to treat you the way they WANT TO and not the way you EXPECT them to. Stopping someone in their tracks when they don't follow your boundaries early-on, is much easier than not enforcing boundaries and trying to let go months and years down the line after you've invested time and feelings. You do yourself a huge justice when you are firm from day one with people.
Also, we all know that most people are only going to treat you as good or bad as you treat yourself. A part of self-love and self-care is monitoring how you allow those in your space to treat you. And if I've never learned anything else, we all should know by now that... a lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect. If a person observes that you don't have a standard for how people treat you, the average smart person is going to assume that you don't have self-respect. Because hey, why would someone who truly respects themselves allow someone else to disrespect or mistreat them? Once observing what you allow, not many individuals are going to self-reflect and never do it again. Because of YOUR lack of boundaries, sadly most people are going to prey on that and continuously mishandle you. This is because.. to THEM, you've already shown them that you have no regard for the way others handle you.. and to them, this is a place where they can thrive. You don't want to end up in relationships and friendships where you allow mistreatment for so long and ultimately have no one to look back and hold accountable except YOU. Disappointment alone is tough, but self-disappoint hits different.
Therefore, no matter how difficult it may be, you have to take the time to set and enforce the tone for how you want to be handled. As a collective, we should always normalize telling others their role in our lives and what actions and requirements come along with those roles. The more that you make this a habit, the easier the bonds and relationships in your life will be and the less strife you will encounter with those in your space.
How people treat you is on them, but how you respond to it is on YOU.
Love & Light,