Marriage and Family therapist
October 13, 2018
You are a significant person. Worthy of all the things anyone else would be worthy of. Are you living your life this way? There may be some confidence there, but do your actions follow? Boundaries often play a significant role. Boundaries are sometimes needed in all parts of our lives. This can be at work, in relationships, parenting, and even with yourself. When we have little to no boundaries we often notice that we aren’t living in a way that truly honors our worth. We need to recognize the message we are sending in various parts of our lives – the standard we set for others. This is how they learn what’s okay and what’s not okay to do to/with us. Are you aware of what standards you’re setting in your life right now?
Work can often provide a great example. Let’s say you’re a very hard worker and will always go the extra mile to please. So you decide to work through lunch and get the project done faster than expected. Fantastic, right?! Your boss then sees this and realizes how much potential you have, so they decide to give you another project to start that afternoon since you’re suddenly freed up for the rest of the day. On one hand, you can see how fantastic this is in the sense that your boss trusts you so much that they are enlisting you on another project. You can also see great confidence or pride in your work, knowing you have almost done twice the work in just one day! On the other hand, you are doing twice the work in only one day! Try to think for a moment what this might do to a person over time. You begin to make this a regular routine. Not leaving your desk for lunch, eating there, or possibly skipping lunch because you’re on a roll. Without realizing it, you’re slowly burning yourself out. You are now setting a standard that you will stay in for lunch, forgo breaks, and take on more work than was expected.
In our personal lives and relationships, boundaries can be a bit more tricky. There are a lot more heavy emotions involved, often making it far more challenging to make changes. Let’s try another example: You have a friend that is currently going through a divorce/break up. They are devastated and need you constantly. There are deep feelings of sadness for what your friend is going through so you overextend yourself during this time to ensure they don’t feel alone. Answering phone calls or texts at all hours, leaving events when needed, and picking up the pieces of their life. On one hand, that friend is probably incredibly grateful. On the other hand, it would be important to not lose sight of your own life and needs during this time. This could begin to set a standard that their life and needs come before yours. Over time, this could chip away at anyone, making them sad, angry, or even resentful.
How To Know When You Need To Set Boundaries
Taking a step back to assess how you show up in your life is important. We receive cues when we notice our behavior and feelings start to shift in certain areas. Let’s say you’re irritated when you see your friend’s name pop up on your phone. Thinking “Ugh, what is it now?” rather than having the same feelings of urgency or concern that you did before. Or you now dread going to work. These cues and others are often signs we might need to set boundaries. Recognizing the pattern and how you got there is important. This helps you recognize how deeply rooted this might be and will help you better understand how to break the cycle. A professional psychologist, counselor, therapist, etc. can also be of huge benefit in helping you process and break this pattern.
Setting Boundaries Can Be Hard
Boundaries are not wrong. Setting boundaries does not make you a mean person. Yes, the people you are setting boundaries with will probably not be happy. That is okay and to be expected. This does not mean you should forget the boundaries and go back to the way things were. I encourage you to push two steps further than you normally would. Two steps further will remind the person on the receiving end that this is our new way of connecting. They have the choice to adapt and come along or not. You are setting a new standard that YOU MATTER also! That’s a beautiful thing! How amazing will it feel when your friend calls just to ask how you are? Or to celebrate one of your wins with you rather than only discussing her current hardships. It will feel lovely to not overwork yourself, take breaks, and not feel as stressed when you leave work each day.
You are taking your power back in these moments. Giving too much power to others in your life depletes the supply that is meant for you. Think of it as a bank account. If you are giving your entire paycheck and then some to others, you are in the red and have nothing left for yourself. Over time, this is taxing on anyone! It’s okay to give some of your power/pay to others, but not all! Some needs to be budgeted and left for you. I encourage you to think about the amount you feel comfortable giving to others and what you absolutely need for yourself. In moments where there is a request of you, give yourself some time to think about what amount you can actually give. Tell the person, “I’m not sure, let me get right back to you”. During that time you can decide what you can do and what you aren’t willing to do. This will ensure that you still have some emotional money in your bank account left over for yourself and your own needs.
You Need Healthy Boundaries
Boundaries are a healthy part of life. Each person needs to have a good idea of what they are willing to do and what they are not willing to do. Those that truly love and support you will still be around, even amongst new boundaries. You are a worthy person that is worthy of self-love and focus. Boundaries will ensure that you have enough emotional money to take care of your needs and avoid future burn out. When it gets challenging, remind yourself of what you would tell a friend. You would encourage them to set themselves as a high priority. You can do the same! I hope you are patient, do your best, and live your life aligning with the notion that YOU MATTER!
About The Author
Danielle Riele is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice with an office in Roseville, CA. She has worked as a therapist in the area for the last eight years and has been licensed for close to four years. Helping & encouraging people has always been a passion of hers. After becoming a parent several years ago, it pulled on her to make even more of an impact. She is now branching out to do more motivational speaking. This year she created new professional accounts on Facebook & Instagram called @youfingmatter, where she gives daily inspiration and encouragement to live your life in alignment with your worth. Late this year there will be a blog attached where you can find all of this and more!
If you’re struggling with any kind of mental health related issues, counseling can help! SacWellness is home to over 190 therapists in the greater Sacramento area. This includes areas like Lincoln, Loomis, and Woodland. SacWellness has therapists who work with a wide range of issues including relationship counseling and self-esteem therapy.