Establishing boundaries is something that starts when we are children. We learn what people are allowed to do to, or with, us. We learn this from the adults that surround us. We learn which names we will allow people to call us. We learn how people are supposed to make us feel. How they’re supposed to touch us. We learn what we must allow.
I taught my children never to allow anyone to call them by a name that made them feel anything less than what they are; bold, brilliant and beautiful. They knew not to let anyone touch them inappropriately from an early age, and not to be afraid to speak up. My children have boundaries.
Some of us, though, are out here living without boundaries. Adults without boundaries…
Imagine being struck out of anger, called belittling names for no reason, and inappropriately touched at an early age. Imagine if nobody told your younger self that this was wrong. Imagine growing up knowing that these things were not okay, but also feeling like they must be accepted as your reality. Bullies. Child molesters. Verbal and physical abusers. What does that do to the adult psyche? Even as adults these images continue to haunt us, and our learned behaviors follow us into many aspects of our lives.
Our finances. Our relationships. Our self-confidence.
Even though we are able to teach our children how they should allow people to treat them, as adults, we still allow people to overstep the boundaries that we know we should have. We have been conditioned that using the word “no” is bad, instead of an absolute necessity. We have been taught to accept what is given to us. Good or bad. We deserve it. We know that disappointing others is not allowed, although others can disappoint us without a second thought. And we need to accept this as this thing called “life”. We will do things for others that they would never do for us, all in the name of acceptance. We are the punch line, and sometimes even partake in our own self-shaming rituals. We allow others to dictate our time. Because our time has no value. Our bodies have no value. We have no value… if we don’t have boundaries.
Establishing boundaries is something that starts when we are children, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes we make it all the way to adulthood before realizing that we deserve to be treated with respect. And although we may know what that looks like for others, we may struggle with setting our own boundaries. We may come off as aggressive when first using the word "no". Pent up anger and years of frustration will do that. We may seem reclusive when in actuality we are just wanting a day to ourselves. It may take others some time to get used to this new, self-care practicing adult. Setting a new precedent for how you will be treated is important, and they will either get used to the new you or move on to other things.
As you continue your journey to setting boundaries, remember these affirmations. You will learn to communicate your feelings without worrying about what others think. Your feelings are your own. You will know that your body is sacred, and you won’t allow others to use it in ways that only satisfy them. You will practice self-care. You will not partake in the body shaming and dehumanizing antics of our society. You will not feel the need to fill every need. You will not allow people to monopolize your time for their own personal gain. You will charge your worth. You will value your own time, and in turn, so will others. You deserve respect. You have boundaries.