You Can't Love Yourself Without Boundaries.
February’s Mission Statement.
Ah February. The month of love, mush and heart emojis. The season of unused teddy bears, expensive chocolate and overcrowded restaurants. Where footsie is the new football, 50 Shades is the new Bible, and tonsil tennis goes for gold at the Olympics.
Whether you’re a hopeless romantic, a total cynic, or somewhere in between, it makes no odds to me. I’m only here to make sure you are loving the most important person in your life.
Valentine’s Day, although another commercial ploy, is all about celebrating the love in your life. Whether that is a partner, best-friend, pet, or burrito.
What isn’t well advertised though, is loving yourself.
So, to keep with our theme of falling in love with our lives, I thought February would be the perfect time to make sure we are loving ourselves, properly.
Loving ourselves isn’t just taking time out for self-care. It’s not just a case of eating better, sleeping better, meditating, or covering our entire body is baby oil... Self-love goes much deeper than that. Please don’t get me wrong, self-care is the shit! It is, without question, the most important first step to better mental health and happiness. Chances are though, you still need to take it up a notch to really be at peace with your life.
That’s where February comes in.
This month, I will be tackling the heavier side of self-love; setting boundaries, removing toxic people, and dealing with mental health issues in relationships. These are all really important areas, we must explore, if we want to truly love ourselves, and in turn, love others as best we can.
I’m kind of like Cupid… but with anxiety... that uses cats instead of arrows...
First on our February self-love mission…
How to set boundaries
When I hear the phrase, ‘set yourself boundaries’, I just imagine a bunker, surrounded by barbed wire and The Night’s Watch. It just sounds like a very serious way to make changes. I promise you, it’s really not that bad, and Jon Snow is rarely involved…
A huge part of loving ourselves, is respecting what works for us, and what doesn’t. It is very important we take the time to evaluate our lives and see what makes us tick. This is not as scary as it sounds. I just mean, take a step back and think about what makes you feel good, and what just isn’t working.
4 Clear Ways To Set Personal Boundaries
1) Accept and love yourself for what you are – You are wonderful. Bottom line. Your faults, mistakes and troubles are part of that wonder. The way you snort when you laugh, cry over adverts, or sing terribly in the shower, are all part of your wonder. In order for us to create helpful boundaries, we must first accept the wonder of what we are, and what we are not.
Are you a social butterfly, or a lone wolf? Are you an explorer, or a home bird? Do you like the finer things in life, or a simple way of living? It does not matter what your preferences are, they are what makes you, you. It’s time we accept ourselves for what we are and stop wishing we were something different.
If you are a party animal, party on. If the thought of other people makes you want to crawl under a rock, then enjoy your serenity. We often feel we should be more. See more. Do more. If that is what you actually want, then do so. But, do not force yourself to be something that you are not. Instead, accept what you are, quirks and all, and embrace it. Once you are able to validate, and accept, yourself, you are invincible; this is what boundaries are for. They are for self-acceptance and self-love, and to protect you from anyone, or anything, that goes against those two things.
‘Accept yourself as you are. And that is the most difficult thing in the world, because it goes against your training, your education, your culture. From the very beginning you have been told how you should be. Nobody has ever told you that you are good as you are.’ - Osho
2) Be mindful of the company you keep – This is a boundary we often overlook, to avoid conflict, or upset. However, we must set boundaries for how we are willing to be treated, what makes us feel good, and what has a negative impact on our mental health. I discussed in my self-confidence post, about ‘Removing Arseholes’, and this is exactly that.
Start to note which relationships empower you, and which ones make you feel small. Acknowledge what it is about them, that causes you to feel badly about yourself. Is it the way they speak to you? Do they question everything? Do they like to make a joke of things and embarrass you? Are they just negative people in general? By now, you will have had various relationships with all types of people. Enough in fact, to know how you wish to be treated, and what isn’t acceptable.
‘Your soul is attracted to people, the same way flowers are attracted to the sun, surround yourself only with those who want to see you grow.’ - Pavana
With this, put boundaries in place that will determine how you want to be treated, and what works for your mental health. Anyone that is unable to respect these boundaries, is not a good person to have on your team. Please don’t be afraid to make cuts for the sake of your personal development. It is not selfish. We will discuss how to do this in more detail in an upcoming post though, so don’t worry.
3) Don’t allow pressure to get to you – In life, we are flooded with pressure from all angles. When setting boundaries for ourselves, it is important we do not allow these pressures to affect us.
Let’s just get one thing clear though, boundaries are not a comfort zone. Boundaries are limits you put in place for the love, and protection of yourself. Your comfort zone is just a safety blanket, meant to be flexible, at no cost to your personal boundaries. I say this, because people may try and make you feel guilty for not compromising, or trying new things. This is not okay. If you are pushing your comfort zone, then all power to you. But, if you’re pushing your personal boundaries, then the situation probably isn’t right.
Don’t be pressured into events you don’t want to attend, to have relationships with people you don’t want to, to support arguments you are against, or anything else that goes against your personal boundaries. Your gut will never let you down. If something isn’t right for you, you will know that, and you should listen. Having clear boundaries about what you know is right for you, will help make this step easier.
4) Understand you can only change yourself – This is super important and often hard for us to swallow.
When I was going through therapy, I would get so upset over different relationships that affected me negatively. I just couldn’t understand why someone would continue to push my boundaries, when they were supposed to care for me.
My therapist very rightly told me, that you have no control over anyone else’s actions. All you can control, are your reactions to that person and their behaviour. It is important we keep ourselves in check with this, and not expect everyone to fall in line with our boundaries. This doesn’t mean we allow them to be crossed. We just can’t expect other people to have the same set of boundaries as we do.
Human beings are beautifully diverse. We all think and feel very differently to one another. So, expecting that everyone will agree with our boundaries is naïve of us. We must accept that all we can do is protect, and better, ourselves. If there are people in your life that aren’t what you would like them to be, and this affects you in a negative way, then please, refer to point two my love.
I really hope this post has helped put things into perspective. True self-love is tricky to master, but it can be done. You just need to be fully committed to yourself and what is right for you.
Setting the right personal boundaries can really help with this. They allow us to be more aware of what is right for us, and less compromising over what isn’t. Please don’t be afraid to choose yourself, and your happiness, above all else. It is not selfish. It is necessary and very brave of you.
‘Daring to set boundaries, is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.’- Brene Brown
You are so very brave, and anyone who feels disappointed by your boundaries, doesn’t deserve your wonder.
Question of the week: Which one of these steps, would you find easiest to practice?
As always, tight squeezes! X