I know a lot of cool people. Smart people. Funny, creative, talented, generous, loving, wonderful people. They encourage me to be myself, push me to be better, and give me goals for the kind of person I want to be when I grow up. This series is all about the lessons I’m learning and the ways they inspire me. This month, I’m inspired to set better boundaries.
I suppose my inspiration this time around doesn’t come from a single person so much as some experiences I’ve had recently. Without going into specifics, I’ve had too many days lately that have ended in me feeling insignificant, underappreciated, overwhelmed, and resentful.
What’s more aggravating is that most of the circumstances leading to those feelings were within my control. I didn’t have to put myself in situations that made me feel icky. It was entirely preventable!
I only have myself to blame. And that means I am the only one who can resolve the issue.
The best solution, it seems, is for me to set better boundaries. I already know my limits; now I need to stop overreaching them.
I’m not implying that I should never step outside my comfort zone. Pushing myself to try new things and meet new people has proved indescribably rewarding on so many occasions. My life is much richer because I took some chances that scared me. And I’d hate to stagnate.
But I also don’t want to resent the people I love. I don’t want to stop enjoying things that have brought me joy in the past just because I have no self-restraint.
Even chocolate stops being delicious when you eat too much…or pour it on top of garlic bread. Context is important too.
Basically I need to stop gorging myself and thinking maybe this time I won’t get a tummy ache. That’s not how things work. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results isn’t necessarily insanity; it’s just plain foolish.
In order to be a better friend and wife and mother, I just need to set better boundaries for myself. There are lines that I know better than to cross. Now I need to define and stick to them.
I can go to social functions, but more than a couple a month is too many, and I need to be particular about which ones I attend. I can limit and space out errands and activities to allow myself some down time. (Some people thrive on having a packed schedule. I am not one of them.) I can put my phone down during certain hours and focus on the three dimensional people in my life. I can create sponsored posts and share pre-made content as long as I do it on terms I’m comfortable with. I can hold bedtime sacred, both the kids’ and my own, to ensure that I get alone time and enough sleep. I can say no. I can walk away. I can insist on change. I can give myself a time out.
While I don’t want to stifle myself with a bunch of strict rules, if I set better boundaries I know I’ll be happier. I’ll be free to turn down things that wear me out, giving me more time for things and people that fill up my soul.
And then, when I find myself feeling put upon again, I’ll know I can do something about it.
Have you had to set better boundaries for yourself? What limits in your life help you find peace of mind? Certain foods that don’t serve your body well? Or toxic people you’ve had to avoid? How do you stick to the boundaries you have in place?