Thoughts on Self Preservation and Boundaries

Something I've been working on for the past 5 years or so, is learning how to set boundaries. I am a people-pleaser, created by both nature and nurture. I feel the constant need to ensure that everyone is happy with me, and worse yet, happy with one another whenever possible. I often serve as the connector trying to smooth friction or unfamiliarity between others. I hate letting people down. For these reasons, and for most of my life, I have continually said "Yes" even at times when I wanted to say "No." I attended endless events for very distant relatives who likely couldn't pick me out of a crowd. I spent money I didn't really have buying gifts for people who didn't really care. I dressed a certain way, acted a certain way, pretended to agree with certain things so as not to rock the boat and ensure I never made anyone upset with me. Then, I met someone who became a friend, and taught me something that has majorly impacted my life.

She said, "Your time and energy is every bit as valuable as your money. Every thing that you do requires time or energy. Every interaction, every friendship, every effort - make sure it's worth it."

I've always watched what's in my checking account. I check prices, use coupons, buy things on sale to make sure I'm not wasting my limited, available funds. I guard cash in my purse (on the rare days I have any) as if it were gold bars. Furthermore, by not buying something that would be a waste, I know I can buy something I truly need or want. Why wasn't I treating my time the same way?

I had to make a change. I had to stop spending time and energy on things I didn't really care to do, simply out of feelings of obligation. I had to stop trying to be everyone's best friend and invest the time in my existing friendships. I had to stop allowing my energy to be drained by people who didn't treat me as kindly as I treated them. It was time to create limitations - boundaries to my need to make everyone happy all the time, so that I too could be happy. I too could have (and even voice) an opinion.

I encourage you to stop and think about where you might need to create some boundaries in your own life. What are you doing, for the sole purpose of keeping someone else happy? Maybe it's attending every. single. family event when you haven't had a weekend to relax with your own spouse and children in over a month. Maybe it's volunteering when asked, every. time. even though you're feeling used. Or maybe, it's letting someone suck away your energy by allowing them to treat you in a way you wouldn't consider treating them.

It's time to stop. You matter. Your happiness matters too. Healthy boundaries may not form overnight (they didn't for me, I'm still a work in progress), but nothing worth having usually does. Start today.

{image property of SimpLeeSerene, originally posted here}


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