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The art of setting boundaries…against ourselves

I’m bad at saying no to others. 

I’m worse at saying no to myself. 

For example, I’ll pile on things to keep me occupied during isolation, and while I’ll think ‘hmm yeah maybe I should cut down a few things, I’m getting tired’, my other hemisphere whispers ‘nah you’ll be right, keep them coming – and don’t say no’. 

Or, like I found myself doing the other day, spending 2 hours searching around for running shoes when I already had a good pair. While frustrated, I kept scrolling, thinking ‘why am I doing this?’, ‘I’d rather be doing something else’. 

Then I came across Positive Psychology’s post: ‘How to set healthy boundaries’. They mention:

“A boundary is a limit or space between you and the other person

We’re taught to maintain boundaries with others, about what we do and do not tolerate. If what we value and what they value clash, you’ll know quite quickly, and most likely, do something about it. 

 

But what about setting boundaries between us and ourselves? 

We need to do the same thing: ask ourselves not to make unreasonable demands on our time, emotions etc. 

Such boundaries could be:

  • I online shop only when I actually need the item 
  • I will not work past 8pm each night
  • I only eat chocolate swiss rolls if i’m at a birthday or gathering
  • I only attend birthdays where I know the people
  • I can criticise my mistakes for 2 minutes and 38 seconds, and then I focus on how I can improve the situation 

Honestly for me, it’s easier (though not easy!) to set boundaries between myself and other people. There’s accountability, and a pressure to stick to our word. 

But for ourselves…that’s a different challenge. 

How to set boundaries for ourselves?

I direct you here, and to any other websites that talk about healthy boundaries. Just replace ‘the other person’ with yourself. 

Additionally, I’ve found 2 things that we need for strong boundaries. 

Clarity and commitment. 

The more specific about what you do and do not tolerate, the easier it is to realise when you cross it. 

And after you’ve made the boundary, it’s a decision, it’s been made. You can’t take it back. You’ve committed. As referenced in the article: It’s impossible to set boundaries without setting consequences. So think of a few that’ll hold you accountable. 

Good luck!

 

Jo 

 

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