Boundaries, the Path to Healthy Relationships

I’ve been reading a book about boundaries and self care. It has made me step back and look at the boundaries I set and how I accept the boundaries other people set. When reflecting on my life I realize just how far I have come.

I never used to have boundaries. Self care was almost non-existent. My life was about living for other people. This was my own fault. I never created boundaries. Never asked for what I needed. I spent so much time feeling like I needed to be the perfect wife and mother (I most definitely was not). I felt like I was running around supporting everyone else and just never really looked at what I needed.

I was afraid to speak up for myself. Not because I thought people wouldn’t love me for not being able to go to every game or be at every coaching event. But I was afraid I would feel like a failure for not being perfect. The truth is, I gave up boundaries for others. I didn’t understand that the root of my anxiety was, most likely, my lack of boundaries. I didn’t understand my depression was, most likely, my lack of boundaries.

I realized that if someone set boundaries for me, I didn’t take it well. I took everthing as a rejection. I tried to find excuses as to why I wasn’t really overstepping boundaries. I couldn’t handle when people set boundaries for me.

I always thought boundaries were for my work. Make sure to always keep things confidential. Don’t develop personal friendships with clients. Don’t disclose personal information to clients. These were the only boundaries I knew.

This book didn’t teach me boundaries. I have been learning them. I have a group of girlfriends that are so open and honest. Our friendships are not about following what others are doing. It’s about being real with each other. We straighten each others’ crowns, but we are also honest with each other, even when it’s hard. If I have hurt one of them, they tell me. I never intend to hurt anyone, but sometimes, we go through things and hurt people unknowingly. When my girlfriends have confronted me with what I have done, I have not tried to make excuses for my behavior and I have apologized. And I will admit, it feels good to accept those boundaries. And they have also taught me that I can set boundaries of my own, and it doesn’t mean I have failed.

Setting boundaries is still hard for me. But I can tell my kids that I would love a schedule of their plans when they will be at my house. I can tell them when I need help. And they rise to the occassion.

At work, I’ve learned that I need to set boundaries too. Sometimes I try to work so hard and get everything done as fast as possible. However, I have learned that I burn out if I keep going without a break. So, I have learned to take work at an even pace and work and make sure I am focused on doing the work throughly. If it isn’t fast enough, it will just show that I need the help. When I am struggling, Iam comfortable going to my supervisor and telling her I am struggling. I used to work through lunch to keep working, but now, I always take my lunch break.

And my amazing partner has taught me it is safe to set boundaries with him. Setting boundaries has kept our communication wide open and that is so important. If I need something, I know I can tell him, and he doesn’t get angry, he doesn’t tell me I am being selfish and he doesn’t make me feel crazy. We figure it out in a healthy way. Because we can talk so openly, we make a great team.

What it comes down to, is boundaries open communication in any relationship. It teaches us to talk with the people in our lives about what we need. It also teaches us to look at ourselves and accept the boundaries others set for us. And ultimately, it is the recipe for an amazing relationship with yourself.

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