Women are often expected to be everything to everyone, and we’ve talked a lot about that on this blog. Setting and maintaining boundaries can sometimes feel like an act of rebellion against society and even your family. I’m here to tell you it absolutely is not. It is an essential part of cultivating self-respect, protecting your well-being, and building healthier relationships with your loved ones.

Boundaries are different for everyone. What I might be okay with, you might not and vice versa. Knowing your “yes” and “no” empowers you to make conscious choices about how you spend your time and energy. The foundation of strong boundaries is self-awareness. You need to identify your values, needs, and limitations. What drains your energy? What makes you feel good? Knowing that time is the only thing we spend that we can’t get more of, who and what are worth spending that time on?

Once you’ve identified your boundaries, communicate them clearly and directly to those around you. Be specific, assertive, and respectful. You don’t need to justify or apologize for your boundaries. Stay true to yourself and your “yes” and “no”. It may be hard at first to do this, and you may have to say it with a quivering voice, but say it nonetheless.

Setting boundaries may feel uncomfortable at first, especially when someone pushes back or resists your boundaries. This is a natural part of the process. Stand firm in your convictions and remind yourself that prioritizing your own well-being is not selfish. Typically, when someone is pushing back on your boundaries, it’s because they benefit from you not having boundaries.

Keep your boundaries flexible so that you can be open to negotiation and compromise. Especially with your family at first. They will be trying to work through how to do things differently if they’ve counted on you all of these years to do things a certain way. If you are all of a sudden no longer handling that thing, it might take some time to train them, or help them figure it out on their own. Stay true to your core values and don’t allow disrespect. Just be flexible until they are ready to take over the task at hand.

Saying “no” can be incredibly empowering. Don’t feel obligated to people-please. Learn to decline requests politely, but firmly. You can be kind and firm without belittling them. They will be more apt to respect your boundaries if you treat them with respect and kindness.

Setting and maintaining boundaries requires energy. Prioritize your self=care practices that nourish your mind, body, and soul. This could include exercise, meditation, spending time in nature, or connecting with loved ones. Don’t allow anyone to drain you completely.

Build a network of supportive individuals who understand your goals in your journey to creating and maintaining your boundaries. They can help you navigate the challenges and hold you accountable for your well-being.

Remember, setting and maintaining boundaries is a journey, not a destination. There will be bumps along the way, but the rewards of prioritizing your well-being and building healthier relationships are worth it. Start small, be patient with yourself, and celebrate your victories. You deserve to have boundaries that support your authentic self and cultivate a life filled with joy and fulfillment.

Brandy and her daughter Riley.
Brandy and her daughter Riley.

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