Tales from the Single Relationship Expert: “Setting Healthy Boundaries”
Stop in the name of Self-Care
Has someone ever called you and just started ranting? They immediately go into their issue and start dumping all their heaviness on you without saying something as simple as “Good morning, how are you?” To them in that moment their problem is greater than how you’re feeling. It’s more important they “get it all out” than if you’re in the right headspace to hear it. Well, setting up some healthy boundaries can teach people to respect you and most importantly teach you how to respect yourself.
Teach people how to treat you.
Takers will always take. It is their nature, it’s what they do. Same can be said about givers, but how do you prevent someone from taking advantage? It is the giver that has to learn that everyone does not deserve what you have to offer especially those who continuously misuse your generosity. Takers will continue to do so as long as you let them. Taking is not all bad. You have to take advantage of a great opportunity, take on the day etc., but it should not be at the expense of mistreating or using people for your own selfish gain. Setting boundaries is an act of love toward yourself and act of respect toward others.
Finding a healthy balance between being a giver and a taker can be difficult, but not impossible. There is a beauty in being able to give from the heart and not expect anything in return. There is bravery in being able to ask for help when you need it and not taking it personally when someone can’t. The problem usually arises when a person decides to associate the word “No” with malicious intent. No is actually a complete sentence especially in the name of self-preservation. I always say you can’t give from an empty cup.
If you feel drained after speaking to a certain person you need to re-evaluate that relationship. Some people are unaware of their selfishness because they’ve done it for so long and no one has called them out on it. You can tell them “hey listen every time you call it’s all about you and your drama. You never ask how I’m doing or check in on me unless you want something and it makes me not want to talk to you.” I’m an Aries we’re pretty straight forward. You can also keep it simple and when they are done ranting you can simply say “Hi, How are you? I’m well…” Or my personal favorite, not pick up every time they reach out or say no to certain outings. You get the gist. Take them in small doses if at all. If you are taking deep breathes and hesitant at the idea of interacting with this person you probably shouldn’t.
Tit for Tat
Nothing aggravates me more than someone doing something for you and saying “Yeah I got you, you did that favor for me last time so...” Or someone doing something just so they can ask something of you later. I’m a stickler for if it’s not from the heart don’t bother. No one feels good about receiving help from someone that makes you feel indebted. Same goes for doing a favor. Do things because you want to not because you feel obligated to do so. If you are the type that does favors for people so they can “owe you” then you are not the “good person” you claim to be. Become more self-aware so you can be a better person. Doing things from the heart feels good all the time not just in the moment.
Now how do we mesh these two worlds of giving and taking and create a beautiful dance. Well first we have to be self-aware. Knowing ourselves allows us to have more compassion, make sure our needs are being met and protects us from manipulation.
Here are some ways to practice Healthy Boundaries
Saying no without feeling guilty about it.
Saying yes because you want to and not out of obligation.
Not feeling responsible for another people’s happiness.
Admitting mistakes and accepting responsibility for your behavior and morals.
Communicating truthfully and openly.
Asking not expecting.
Not tolerating people who treat you poorly.
We must learn to take care of ourselves first. Nurture ourselves the way we do people we love. By doing this you can provide from an authentic place of strength instead of need. Setting healthy boundaries can help you achieve just that.
Cheers to Self Preservation!