Hey there lovely! By now, you must know that you need to protect your energy. If you don’t, certain people in your life will just keep on taking from you. I call these people energy vampires, because they will literally take and take from you, until you’re completely drained out, and even then, they will expect you to keep spending your energy on them.
If you are generally a kind and loving person, chances are you have to deal with this on the regular in your life.
You need to set some ground rules for yourself so that you can take back your energy, and start spending more of it on the most important person in your life, which is you!
What are boundaries, and how do you know if you need to set some?
According to Wikipedia, “Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules, or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits”.
How do you know if you need to set boundaries?
- do you often feel taken advantage of?
- do you feel like your days and hours just fly by with you looking after everyone else but yourself? By the time you finish everything, are you too tired to do anything just for you?
- do you feel helping a specific person (or people) takes up a lot of your time?
- do you feel helping this person/people is not reciprocated?
- do you feel resentful at times towards the people that are closest to you?
- do you feel guilty or shameful asserting your own needs with your loved ones?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, you will benefit from building and sustaining some boundaries in your life!
What do you have to lose? Let’s give it a try:)
Who do you need to set boundaries with?
Personal boundaries are needed with people you have personal relationships with, and often the deeper the relationship, the more difficult it may seem to set the boundary.
You may need to set personal boundaries with:
- your partner/spouse
- your children
- your coworkers
- your friends
- your parents
- your siblings
- your acquaintances
How do you set a personal boundary?
1. The easiest way to do this is switch your focus from caring so much about what these people need from you, to what you need from you.
Instead of focusing on how you may disappoint them by taking some space, you will be focusing on what you need at that moment, and not feeling badly for giving that to yourself.
2. The other thing you need to do is take stock of how you feel when you do and when you don’t respect your own boundaries. Which feels better?(Try writing this in your journal, to get a clear picture)
As you start to respect your own limitations with people in your life, it will get easier and you will feel good more often!
3. Also, remember this, when you are saying no to others, you are saying yes to yourself!
I’ve noticed that when people are lacking boundaries, they feel badly for turning down others’ needs. But here’s the thing, you matter. Your needs matter. When you are pouring from an empty cup, you are not helping anyone. When you take the time to restore yourself, you feel full of love, and thus you have more love to give to those special people in your life. So don’t feel bad for turning down the needs of others, when you have nothing left to give them. If the tables were turned, you would probably want this person in your life to do whatever they needed to restore their energy and spirit, even if that meant they had to say no to you. Give yourself permission to do the same!
Part of getting to good personal boundaries, is learning how to say to no to others.
How to say no to others, without actually saying no:
- That sounds great, but let me get back to you
- I’d love to, but the timing just doesn’t work for me right now
- I’m working on blah blah blah, when I’m done, I’ll get in touch with you
- I have a lot on my plate right now, when things settle down, I’ll be in touch with you.
- I just need some time for me. I’m running on empty, and I need to give myself time to feel better.
- Sorry, I’m not available at that time.
- Sorry, I can’t make it.
- Thanks for the invite, I’m sorry I won’t be able to attend.
- Sorry, I can’t help you with that.
- I can’t commit to that right now.
- Let me get back to you.
- That sounds awesome, but it’s just not for me.
If those don’t work, just simply try saying No.
The other part of setting good personal boundaries, is assessing what your own needs are, and then allowing yourself to meet those needs.
Ways to say yes to yourself:
Make a list of what you like to do, what re-energizes you, what makes you feel joyful, and what calms you.
These will be different things at different times. For example, sometimes I need some quiet alone time, just to be alone with my thoughts, or to be still. Sometimes I need to be in nature and feel the fresh air. Other times I need a visit with a friend. You will get better at realizing what it is exactly that you need.
Now go ahead and make your list :).
When you’re done, look at your weekly schedule. What are your must do’s? Schedule those in. My must do’s are work, quality time with my kids, and chores (so boring right?!). Then I insert my self care activities into my schedule. When you intentionally plan your life out to include caring for yourself, you will find that you actually have time for it! The stuff that wasn’t really important will fall away.
If you don’t already use a digital or paper planner, you need to start! This way you see your time in blocks, and you can block out time for the most important person in your life, you!
Here is a sample of where I schedule in time for myself (in pink):
I don’t want you to go all perfectionist on your self right here, that would be defeating the purpose of all of this! Lets be flexible and give this a gentle shot.
Lets schedule in, 2 times this week, something you do just for you. Look at your list, and schedule in your top two things this week. Maybe one thing on Sunday, and the other on Wednesday. (As you get better at this, schedule in more often).
Now the next part is, actually sticking to this schedule. Think of it as an appointment with yourself that you have to keep.
Don’t feel bad for keeping this appointment with yourself, you deserve it, and you will feel better for it afterward.
So when the energy vampires in your life ask you for something, first think about your schedule. Is there room to do what this person is asking? Does saying yes to them mean cancelling your appointment with yourself? That means you are saying yes to them, but no to yourself, STOP RIGHT THERE!
Remember how you want to feel and what you want to do for yourself. (You need to keep that appointment love.)
Is there a better time for you to help this person? If so, go ahead and suggest that time. If that person truly values you, and can wait, they will accommodate you. If they don’t, well that’s unfortunate for them.
The main key here is to list what you like to do , and then pick a time for when you will do that. Otherwise you will never get to it, and it will remain a “one day I want to..”, or a “I wish I had time for..”.
Boundaries are key to healthy relationships; with others and with yourself. Don’t feel badly for initiating and maintaining those personal boundaries. You deserve to be happy and live your life on your terms. Start that now!
Let me know what boundaries you are putting in place for yourself in the comment section!