Setting Boundaries

Where are my people-pleasers at?!

If you have a hard time saying no to others, if you feel like you constantly give more of yourself to others than they are willing to give in return, if you feel like you are always putting your own needs aside for the needs of those around you, it may be time to reexamine the boundaries you have set in your life.

My therapist once said something to me that I will never forget “If you are feeling overwhelmed, taken advantage of, run down, or burnt out, that is usually a sign that you need to tighten up your boundaries.”

Many of us, particularly those of us who have experienced childhood trauma, learn early on in life that we always need to say yes and be there for everyone. Often times when we do this, it leaves us feeling emotionally and physically depleted. To preserve your own social, emotional, and physical wellbeing, setting boundaries, or limits, with others is crucial. The benefits of setting healthy boundaries are endless, yet, are rarely discussed when we talk about strategies for self-care. Sometimes self-care does not look like a spa day or a vacation or a workout. Many times, the best form of self-care comes in knowing our limits and sticking to those limits, even when we feel pressure to cave in and put the needs of others ahead of our own.

As a therapist, part of the work I do with my patients includes helping them to love and care for themselves by setting appropriate boundaries with others. Some examples of setting boundaries include:

  • Not always picking up your phone or answering a text immediately when someone is trying to reach you
  • Limiting time spent with family members or friends who leave you feeling triggered, anxious, or depressed afterwards
  • Simply saying “No” or “No thank you” without constantly feeling the need to explain yourself to others
  • Giving yourself permission to leave a situation or end a conversation that makes you feel uncomfortable

Setting personal boundaries with yourself and others does not mean that you do not care about, love, or respect other people. It simply means that you are putting your own needs first; and if you are not caring for yourself first and foremost, it will be very difficult to ever help anyone else. It is okay to say “No”. It is okay to honor yourself by walking away from situations that leave you feeling upset. In fact, not only is it okay, but it is crucial when it comes to recovery from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health disorders.

To Learn More

For more information on the importance of healthy boundaries and different ways to set boundaries with others, please visit the following sites:

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