I used to have poor boundaries.
I had a hard time saying “no.”
I felt guilty when I wasn’t giving 100% of myself to others.
I felt bad when people were upset with something I had done to protect my well-being.
I was frustrated.
I blamed others for “making me” these things.
Which only led to more frustration, passive-aggression, and exhaustion.
My “bucket was empty.”
I couldn’t control the actions of others. I could only control myself.
I needed better boundaries.
Boundaries are the lines that define what we are willing to allow. They are the things we are saying “no” to in order to protect our physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs, safety, and health. They help us keep relationships in balance. They help us feel and give our best.
When we have weak boundaries, we tend to end up in dynamics with people who take advantage of our kindness, empathy, and effort. Then blame them for wearing us thin.
Creating strong, healthy boundaries can feel aggressive. It can be challenging to get your own needs met if you have conditioned yourself to sacrifice them for others. Those who have depended on your weak boundaries may be unhappy when you start prioritizing your needs, health, and safety over theirs. Their response will likely test your boundaries.
I now have much better boundaries. I create expectations for how I want to be treated, invite people to treat me respectfully, and distance myself from people who are unable or uninterested in treating me as I wish. I say “no” to the requests of others and say “yes” to my own needs much more often. I no longer own the feelings of others. I spend most of my time with people who “fill my bucket.” I feel safe and relaxed. I have peace of mind.
If you find that you’re regularly frustrated, passive-aggressive, or exhausted, it may be worth evaluating your boundaries and seeing how you might create some lines that better protect your well-being and sanity. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.