I am not an anxious person. That’s why I laugh at the irony of being surrounded by people who struggle with anxiety. I’m not talking about the normal human emotion of feeling anxious when you give a speech or when you’re about to try something for the first time. I’m talking about the debilitating anxiety that keeps people stuck and prevents them from experiencing the world in the fullness of all it has to offer.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my core values lately. When I first started going to therapy regularly, I was instructed to identify my core values and think about how those values influence how I exist in the world. To be honest, this was a pretty hard assignment. I hadn’t ever thought about those values that were central to my identity – the things that I stood firm on when it mattered most.
The interesting part about that entire experience was how in the end, the parts of me that often landed me in trouble during my formative years in the education system or made it hard for me to navigate the treachery of corporate work spaces; those parts of me that I worked so hard to reform or keep at bay, were in essence the best parts of me. Without those core values, I wasn’t even really me.
So, what are my core values? Joy. Justice. Integrity. I’ll share those top three because they are so crucial to how I see and exist in th world. The question I have asked myself, is how do I protect my joy in a world rampant with injustice and severely lacking in demonstrations of integrity? My answer is boundaries.
Having boundaries is simply a way of saying this is what I’m okay with and this is what I’m not okay with. Setting boundaries helps us to protect our personal space, our physical and mental health, and our safety and security. We tend to feel anxious when those things are in jeopardy or threatened in some way. Despite making therapy a regular part of my health and wellness practice, I don’t have the answers for how to help you learn how to set and honor your boundaries. But, I know how to google so I found these great tips from Better Help. Please head to Better Help to read the full article with all the juicy details and depth of reasoning behind these 7 steps.
1. Start off small
If you’re new to setting boundaries, the best way to familiarize yourself with the process is to start off with something small.
2. Get started early
It’s always best to have boundaries in place at the beginning of a relationship (romantic or otherwise), rather than to enforce them in retrospect.
3. Begin with a bit of self-reflection
The best place to start when forming boundaries is to spend some time reflecting on the area of your life where you’re looking to set the boundary.
4. Explore how you feel about each boundary
When you’ve decided on a personal limit, spend some time reflecting on how that boundary makes you feel.
5. Understand what the boundary brings to your life
Boundaries should be about personal empowerment.
6. Learn to communicate effectively
Setting boundaries is one thing. Communicating them to others is something else entirely. Others won’t know where your boundaries are if you don’t tell them.
7. Practice consistency
Part of communicating your boundaries is enforcing them. It means being confident enough to draw a line when your boundary is crossed and to bring it up with others in your life.