I am excited to say that I am taking a deeper dive into Sailor Mooods and my healing journey. Starting today, May 1st, I will begin focusing on an aspect of healing for each month. May is for personal boundaries, this is a challenging part for me. So, what are boundaries?
“A boundary is an imaginary line that separates me from you. Your boundaries also tell other people how they can treat you – what’s acceptable and what isn’t.”https://livewellwithsharonmartin.com/what-are-boundaries/
“Simple” enough, right? Well, not always. Being a 20-something with borderline personality disorder and a chronic people-pleaser, I lived most of my life with a severe lack of boundaries. It is easy to spot and it is even in the little things like: the inability to say no, oversharing, feelings of guilt and anxiety, and the list really does go on and is different for each person.
Growing up, I felt a constant urge to predict the emotions and reactions of the adults around me. If I did something wrong, I was met with disapproval. I began feeling that in order to be loved I had to do something extraordinary. I began seeking outside approval for my own validation.
As I got older, I continued to seek validation from people. I wanted to be valued so I always morphed myself into a version of what I thought was desired. It took form in many ways from me making myself like what others did and conforming to other’s opinions. In return, these lack of boundaries caused me to lack a sense of self.
Fast forward to young adulthood and my dating escapades and learning more about my mental health. I developed symptoms of borderline personality disorder along with depression and anxiety. I lived (still live) with an initial fear of abandonment and a whirlwind of emotions. Going into the dating world, I had no idea who I was or what I wanted. My top priority was to stop people from leaving me. That meant I’d do anything and put up with anything to not be abandoned yet again.
Why Boundaries are Important
Clearly, you can see why personal boundaries are important. Without them, things can escalate quite fast. It can leave you feeling weak and helpless and that is no way to live. Developing healthy personal boundaries, we teach those around us how we want to be treated. For example, your coworker constantly speaks to you in a belittling manner. Because of fear and lack of boundaries, you say nothing. The problem persists and you are constantly unhappy at work. On the other hand, let’s say next time your coworker says something demeaning to you, you stand up for yourself and tell them no, it is not okay to speak unprofessionally in that manner to you. (It may take a few times and telling a higher up, I am saying this from personal experience). The behavior lessens and stops.
If people believe they can walk over you, the will. Period. Now, you don’t have to go popping off on people or go completely “bad bitch” mode overnight. It takes time and baby steps. And even the smallest ways you start enforcing boundaries you will see a significant change in your life. You will begin to feel more confident and sure of yourself and maybe even begin to rediscover who you are underneath all of the self-doubt.
Liberating Yourself Through Boundaries
Now, as someone living with BPD, depression, and anxiety, it is difficult to set boundaries and take care of myself. But, with a combination of therapy, medication, my spiritual practice, and my dearest friend I have began making strides in the right direction. It should be noted all that it took to get me to start making boundaries, it is no simple task and it is okay if you are struggling. I am here though, to remind you that you can do it. Here are some ways I have set myself onto the path of liberation:
- Learn to say no
- Get in touch with your emotions, try out a mood diary
- Develop a routine
- Know your limits, it is okay to not do everything at once, we are only human
- Self-care, self-care, and more self-care
- Seek support (remember my list of who/what helped me)
- Practice assertiveness
- Be direct
- Celebrate your wins – do not lose hope if some days are hard
More to Come
As I mentioned previously, the month of May will have the theme of boundaries. At this time you can look forward to weekly blog posts about boundaries, daily affirmations, self-care tips, and posts on Instagram! I hope to keep us motivated and take you along my healing journey. I hope you enjoy all that is to come!