Before a few years ago, setting personal boundaries had never really occurred to me. I know I was taught some examples of boundaries that I could set (like maintaining my personal bubble), but I don’t recall learning about boundaries themselves, how many different varieties there are, and how necessary they are.
But the more I’m living and learning, I’m recognizing that boundary-setting in a variety of different ways is important for creating a setting in which I feel safe and for building a sustainable life for myself.
So why do you need boundaries?
To keep what should be yours your own.
When I wasn’t setting boundaries with how I would spend my time, my time stopped being mine – it was about working for other people, pleasing them, keeping them happy. I had no time for myself, for the things I wanted to do. Other things that you might lose that should be your own if you don’t set boundaries are your body or your priorities. When you don’t have boundaries surrounding these and more aspects of your life, you’re letting other people or situations have control over yourself.
You’ll know when to take action against boundary line crossing.
If you don’t know where the line is between what’s okay and what’s not okay with you, you’ll feel unsure of what action to take if you’re feeling uncomfortable.
For example, for a long time, when I was teaching at multiple jobs, I was taking on work at virtually all hours of the day every day of the week. I had no boundaries when it came to my schedule. So when I was asked if I could add on some more teaching, I felt as though I wanted to say no, but I wasn’t sure I had a good enough reason. If I had had a clear boundary that said something about how often I would teach, or what days of the week, or just SOMETHING, instead of hemming and hawing over whether I could say no or not, I could have easily said, “No, I won’t teach at this time because I don’t teach seven days a week,” or “No, I won’t teach at this time because I have already reached my twenty teaching hours quota for the week.”
Boundaries are rules, and rules make things cut and dry.
You can create the life you want.
Your boundaries will provide the framework of the kind of life you want to live. If you want to have weekends to yourself, your boundary of not working weekends will enable that. If you decide that visiting your extended family is a toxic affair, a boundary of only visiting them once at Christmas or something to that effect will ensure you keep that toxicity out of your life. Your boundaries (as long as you follow through and stick to them!) help you make your dreams of having more time, feeling in control, or feelingl safe and happy become reality.