It’s not New Years, but I’m making a resolution, and that is to honor the word “Boundary.”
Boundary. It’s my word for today, the rest of the year, and forever. Before cancer hit, I didn’t know how to set boundaries with people. Or maybe I knew how, but was too afraid of being assertive enough to stop people from draining me. I allowed others to wreck havoc on my life and to take advantage of non-assertive me.
I’m a relatively nice person, but in years past I have been way too nice.
When cancer wiped its filthy feet on my doormat, however, I had to recalibrate how I was going to interact with the world and live my life, for however long that might be. I also had to redefine the word, “life.” Despite knowing the obvious definition, I realized that a life made miserable because of toxic people was no quality life at all. If I continued living without setting and keeping sufficient boundaries, then I wasn’t really living.
Setting boundaries is actually pretty easy, but sticking to them is a constant battle. And that’s because from now until always some people will try taking advantage of others. It’s just part of the nature of people.
So I came up with a list of those seemingly elusive boundaries. This how-to helps me continually take pause and remind myself of what’s important in life. I must remind myself each day to honor this list, and I’m hoping it helps you too.
Here, then, are my top 5 ways to set boundaries. And with the holidays fast approaching, this short list may become especially handy.
Know your priorities. Figure out what is important to you. You can do this in a list. Despite all my important obligations that pull me every which way, my priority is my daughter. I cannot allow anything to override my commitment to her.
Commit to yourself first. Perhaps this should’ve been step No. 1. After all, if you don’t take care of yourself first — especially if you are a caregiver of any sort — you cannot be of good service to others and/or your vocation. Taking the time for a massage, exercise, hobbies, sleeping well, and eating healthy is time well-spent.
Avoid toxic people. Avoid those who drain your time and energy for no good reason. Distance yourself from negative people, for they often take great pleasure in bringing you down. People who gossip are notorious for creating an air of negativity.
Keep drama off your radar. If you can, minimize how involved you get in the drama of others. Don’t stew in the maelstrom stirred up by people with a penchant for “crises.” Instead, take a deep breath and disconnect from unnecessary drama.
Avoid negative self-talk. Sometimes we are our worst enemies. I find it so easy to lapse into negative self-talk. But rather than saying we cannot do something, we ought to say we can accomplish what we set out to.
I’ve found these strategies essential to my physical and mental well-being. Sometimes, I let the boundaries slip, and I reassess how I could more effectively set and honor them.
Let’s just say I’m a work in progress.
What boundaries have you set?
How effective are you at setting boundaries?
Anything you would add to the list?
Tags: boundaries, boundary, cancer, setting boundaries