“Boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.”
We create boundaries around our children to keep them safe. We put boundaries on our relationships to protect them. What about the boundaries that aren’t so cut and dry, aren’t pretty and aren’t easy? Those are just as important, but we cross those boundaries often. I struggle with being a people-pleaser. A push-over. Sometimes even a doormat. “It’s okay if I suffer, as long as the other person doesn’t and as long as I make it seem like I’m okay.” But who is this outlook really serving? I’m cheating myself and being dishonest to the person I’m trying to please. Setting healthy boundaries sends the outward message that you are confident, self aware and able to stand up for yourself. It also sends an unconscious message that you want both parties of the relationship to feel safe, secure and honest.
You have a lot on your plate, Mama. Do you often feel burdened by that load? What if you start practicing the word NO? Instead of feeling anxious that someone else might dislike your decision to say no, start thinking of the greater purpose.
Say NO to serve yourself.
Say NO to serve your marriage.
Say NO to serve your kids.
NO is a complete sentence. Can you volunteer at the kids school? NO. Can you bring a cake to the Christmas party. NO. Can you answer that phone call right now? NO. Can you meet for dinner Friday? NO. It’s okay to politely decline. We take on way too much outside of what we already have on our plate. The pressure put on mothers to always say yes, to take on more and more, and then to look perfect while doing it all… it’s just insane and it’s up to the us to stop it. SAY NO MORE OFTEN!
In order to confidently say no, you have to know what your boundaries are in the first place. Finding your boundaries starts from knowing your values. What do you value personally and within your family unit? Me time, exercise, home-cooked meals, Saturday night Family Game night, Sunday church, sports etc… Whatever you value is what you put first when setting boundaries. If someone asks you for something, ask yourself if it is taking away time for the things you value first. If it is, say no and feel confident in your decision. You can help next time and they will be okay.
The other place boundaries are important is within our relationships. We teach people how to treat us. If you are constantly letting your spouse, your children, your father, your mother-in-law….walk all over you, now is when it ends. You do not have the time or energy to waste on allowing someone to steal your joy. If they are constantly crossing a line then it’s time to get real clear on where that line is. You may need to have a conversation now or wait until the line gets crossed again, but be prepared. Get yourself straight on what your boundaries are so that you can stand up for them when the time comes. If they cannot respect those boundaries then that is their choice and you have to let them make it. You are not responsible for what other people think of you. Actually, (to quote Rachel Hollis), “what other people think of you, is none of your business.” That’s right. They have the right to think what they want about you. And you have the right to ignore it.
Set your boundaries confidently and be who you are with no apologies. Teach those around you how to treat you. Stand up for yourself and your family. It’s okay to put yourself first. It’s okay to make yourself and your family your number one priority and then to act like it, Mama!