What are boundaries?
Boundaries are rules or limits that a person sets in order for themselves to feel comfortable. This could be anything from saying they’re not drinking on a date to not answering their phone after 9 PM (and many, many more in between).
Why are they important?
They are important because the person has defined what they need or don’t need in order to feel comfortable and safe.
So why am I writing about boundaries?
I realized recently that I’d been making rules or decisions about my veganism in regards to others in order to make myself more comfortable. I feel that they are important to set in our daily lives too.
I’ll start with the veganism boundaries first.
Would I bring a snack? Then everyone else is eating their full meal and I am having a salad and still would have to eat when it was over.
I got tired of having to figure out my entire day plan when others can just stroll up and not worry a single bit about food. It started to be very stressful. So I set a boundary. I said that I would either leave before they ate or come after they’ve finished (depending on the meal time).
Boom. Boundary set.
Another vegan related boundary: If meals are being had at restaurants and there is nothing more than a salad available to me, I don’t attend. Nope. Flat out don’t attend.
Boom. Boundary set.
What about in daily life?
Here’s a good example. Let’s say you moved away from home and your mom calls you every day and wants to talk to you. That’s a lot. You can set up a time where you say every Sunday you’ll talk at 5 PM. She’s not going to like that and she’s going to still call you every day. You can either not answer. Or ask her if it’s an emergency otherwise you’ll talk to her during your weekly times.
What happens if you get push back?
It’s inevitable. You’re going to get people who don’t like it. There can be many reasons for that. Maybe they’re used to getting their way and they don’t like that they’re not getting to do whatever they want anymore. Maybe they’re afraid to set their own boundaries or feel they aren’t able to so their pushing back on yours. Whatever the reason, there is going to be push back.
But no matter what anyone says, they are your boundaries. They are made out of something that is important to you. And if they are trying to break your boundaries, call them out on it. Ask them “why are you trying to break my boundaries?” It could be a really good conversation and help both sides get insight.
You are 100% able to make these for yourself and you do not need to explain yourself.
It can be hard sometimes. I totally understand. You can always make an exception or change your boundaries around. It’s all about what makes you comfortable.
For me, setting boundaries really made me feel more like an adult. I wasn’t just going along with what was expected of me anymore or doing things based on obligation. I looked at my life and realized that I didn’t like the way things were just expected of me because that’s what they always were. I made a change.
I read a quote recently from Admiral Grace Hopper, “The most damaging phrase in the language is: ‘It’s always been done that way’.”
Well it’s time to step out of that. Start setting boundaries in your own lives. If there’s something you’re not happy or comfortable with (or even worse obligated to) set a boundary.
Designate one night a week to be out; don’t attend gatherings that don’t have food for you; don’t answer your phone until the designated time; don’t check your work stuff at home. The list goes on.
You don’t need to feel like you have to make up an excuse either. Tell the truth or just say “I’m not going out tonight. Thanks for the offer.” See how things change in your life. If you need to re-adjust your boundaries, do. They’re not in stone unless you want them to be.
What are some of your boundaries? How did people react to them?