Boundaries are an essential aspect of self-care. They help us to maintain perspective and keep our energy and focus. You can still have limits while remaining caring and compassionate towards others. Boundaries can be difficult for people who put others before themselves. When we don’t take care of ourselves, we can not take care of others. Here are some boundaries and why you should have them.
1. Put yourself first: Putting yourself first does not mean that you do not care about others. Putting yourself first says that you understand and respect your personal goals, emotions and needs. When you appreciate your own needs, you do not put the needs of others before your own. When you continually put the needs of others before your own, resentment builds. Often times in relationships and in your career, you may need to find a way to have your needs met while still respecting the needs of others.
2. Self-awareness: When you are self-aware you understand what you are emotionally, physically and psychologically capable of. You do not push beyond this because you understand that this will cause damage to your personal well-being. When you push yourself over your limits you become drained, stressed and lose perspective and energy.
3. Keeping guilt in check: Sometimes we might feel guilty if we don’t help out a friend, co-worker, family member or spouse. Helping others is a positive thing that can help to bring happiness and increase your self-esteem. However, when we are already tapped out mentally or physically, helping others might interfere with the balance in our own lives.
4. Remain balanced: Balance means that we have enough physical, social and mental activity to keep us happy and motivated. When we lack balance, we become irritable and tired.
5. Don’t take things too personally: Sometimes people become irritated, critical or upset with you. Understand what is going on with the other person, you and the situation from a third party perspective. Can you improve your behaviour? Is the other person projecting their own insecurities onto you? Is the situation one that needs to be fixed?
6. Communicate your needs: Often times people have a different needs priority list. Miscommunication happens if you expect people to read your mind. Tell the other person what your needs are, and stand firm. Do not let the other person take your needs for granted.
7. Cost-benefit analysis: If you find yourself confused if you should stay in a situation or with a person, do a quick cost-benefit analysis. Is this situation going to pay off in the future with a cost now? Is the cost higher than the benefit? Is there any benefit at all?
8. Be patient with yourself: If you are not used to asserting your needs, boundaries will be difficult. Take it a day at a time and give yourself some space. Keep trying until you understand your needs and are communicating your needs.
9. Reach out for help: If boundaries are difficult for you due to past abuse or a lack of confidence, reach out for help.
Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment. Reach out to Dr Borschel: email@example.com