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This topic may seem a little strange given the circumstances the world is currently facing, but given the forced personal boundaries that have become a must to help stem the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought I would write a little bit about the importance of having healthy boundaries in our personal relationships.
First off, know that you do have a right and a responsibility to your personal boundaries. These boundaries serve to define what you consider acceptable in your life. Without these boundaries you will likely go through life looking to others to define you and give you your sense of self-worth. I am a firm believer in the notion that we train others how to treat us. By that I mean having a firm set of limits lets other know how far they can go and where you draw the line. Having such limits will help protect and define you by your rules.
Secondly, recognize that other people’s needs, and feelings are not automatically more important than your own. You have a responsibility to yourself to not let yourself become worn out mentally and physically by always and constantly looking after other people. Not only does it exhaust you but keeps the other people in your life from being fully engaged in the relationships you share with them. Instead encourage every member of your family, friend, or romantic partner to contribute the whole that is the relationship while also looking after their own needs.
Lastly, learn how to say no. Maybe you or someone you know is an excessive people-pleaser. Nothing wrong with wanting to do something nice for someone you love, but if it is a regular expectation by the other party, and it’s to the neglect of your own needs or desires, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage by trying to accommodate everyone, or just that someone, all the time. “But I don’t want to be selfish,” you say. Actually, a certain amount of “selfishness” is necessary for having healthy personal boundaries. You do not do anyone any favors, least of all yourself, by trying to please others at your own expense.
I hope that serves as a primer for how you can start establishing healthy personal boundaries in your life. Check back soon for part 2. Stay healthy, my friends!