There was a time were the level of tension and anxiety in my life was so high that it felt as if every aspect of it was consumed by drama. My personal and professional relationships and my relationship with self were all exhausting and overwhelming me. At my lowest I felt helpless, depressed even. I had always taken care of my body by staying active and maintaining a decent diet and sleep routine but my emotional health was shot! Why is that? Because I had no personal boundaries.
I realized I had a lot of people in my personal space. Not physically, but I was consumed by their issues. What I’ve noticed is that people are draining and if you allow them, they will empty you. I was constantly trying to save or fix someone or something and started to get too emotionally invested in OPP (other people’s problems) which usually led to some type of drawn out debate or fight (someone else’s fight).
I did not know how I was going to move myself out of the space of OPP (other people’s problems) but I knew it had to be done. I felt like a doormat and that spoke to how unhealthy my self-esteem had become. No person with a high esteem would allow their emotions to be used for someone else’s benefit. So I set boundaries. Personal boundaries.
“No” is a complete sentence.” ~Anne Lamott
Boundaries are subjective in my opinion. There is no “list of boundaries to set” that would fit all persons the same, but there are ways to identify if you are too emotionally invested in OPP (other people’s problems) and if they are having a negative effect on you.
- If you feel like people take advantage of you and your emotions
- If you are constantly jumping in front of a bus to save others
- If you are constantly fighting someone else’s fight
- If you are always involved in drama you don’t even understand
- If you feel guilty for saying no
- If you say yes to things that you wouldn’t normally do
- If you find yourself helping others before you help yourself
I could list bullet points all day, but I am sure you get the picture by now. For me, it was important that I set limitations for myself as well as the people in my life. I hold myself accountable for respecting my boundaries as much as I do others. Once I found the right direction, setting boundaries didn’t prove to be as difficult as it seemed.
- Figure out what you need more or less of from yourself and others and hold both accountable
- Do not apologize for your boundary. Stay firm, justification is not needed
- Don’t get caught up in what the other person’s response to your boundary will be. You are only responsible for you
- It’s a process. Maintaining your boundaries will take work but remember why you started
*Note: this is an opinion piece and are my collective thoughts from notes taken from several articles on the subject matter during my journey. I do not have links to those articles as it was a while ago and not originally intended to turn into subject matter on my site.