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5 Ways To Create Boundaries From Friends And Family

by winnell

Many of us want to be there at every waking minute for our family and friends. While this can really warm your heart, it can sometimes be to the detriment of your self-care. Often times, we find ourselves going above and beyond for people who may or may not reciprocate such services. The problem is not about whether or not you will receive that in return, it is more about how you spread yourself thin and leave yourself feeling empty at times. Trust me, I’ve been there and I can go there, but I have learned over the years that sometimes being selfish is selfless. Making yourself a priority should not make you feel bad. The honest truth is, if you cannot always be there for someone, they will figure it out, just as they have been for most of their lives.

You have the right to be selfish

Many of us want to be there at every waking minute for our family and friends. While this can really warm your heart, it can sometimes be to the detriment of your self-care. Often times, we find ourselves going above and beyond for people who may or may not reciprocate such services. The problem is not about whether or not you will receive that in return, it is more about how you spread yourself thin and leave yourself feeling empty at times. Trust me I’ve been there and I can go there, but I have learned over the years that sometimes being selfish is selfless. Making yourself a priority should not make you feel bad. The honest truth is, if you cannot always be there for someone, they will figure it out, just as they have been for most of their lives.

Let’s discuss five ways you can create boundaries that honor your self care and love. It is time to allow others to heed to your own needs and self sufficiency.

Be Honest

Sometimes we may be going through her own struggles and stresses and need to spend a little bit more “me time”. It may sound selfish and it’s really not. The best rule of advice is to be honest with yourself with how you’re feeling. You should be able to address it with yourself, a counselor or confidant. From there you should explicitly tell your family and friends how you were feeling and how this impacts your ability to meet whatever needs they are asking of you at the time. This does not need any further explanation. Once you have led with the truth, it is up to them to take heed and to respect those boundaries.

Time is Precious

As a busy medical student, I know how hard it is to juggle the art of time management. Between studying, deadlines and social life, it can get pretty hard. Sometimes I cannot stay on the phone too long. Many times I’ve stayed on the phone longer than I should’ve and it was mainly because I didn’t want to say that I had something else to do.  I wanted my friends or family to continue venting to me. Afterwards, I lost hours on hours of study time and it did not serve me well. Nowadays, I kindly suggest setting limits for your phone conversations and social gatherings. Whether you have a 20 minute limit for phone calls or a one day a month max for social outings, create those time limits. I highly suggest telling the person on the phone how long you have or at that certain time point within the conversation or outing, tell them about your other obligations.  Again, you really don’t have to explain yourself any further.

Self-Care

Always make sure to pencil in self-care at least once a week minimum. Whether it’s watching a movie, painting your nails, going out to eat, bubble bath, etc do it. Don’t wait for anyone else to treat you how you deserve to be treated. Reward yourself any chance that you get because each time you seize the day is truly a milestone accomplishment that you should celebrate.

Forgive Yourself

It’s OK. So many of us have made ourselves feel bad for not being there 100% of the time for people but you must forgive yourself for that. You must know that everything that you do for self-preservation is in the interest of yourself as well as your loved ones. Self-preservation is a marathon and no one has the right to tell you how you should live your life. I serve my one and only God and I do not plan on adding anyone else as deity. When in doubt, fear, and trepidation, pray.

Say “NO”

This is a life changer. Saying no is the new massage. You don’t have to say yes to everything. No is a terminal response. When you say no, you are not required to have a follow up response. You should not feel obligated to and you also should not be pressured. Again, people will figure things out as they always have. If they have become so accustomed to you always saying yes and doing things for them, it might be a hard pill to swallow. It’s better for them to experience that now rather than later.

I hope this was helpful in helping you establish boundaries. This is a tool that I have used over the past few years and each year I try to create more and more. We have a lot on our plates and it doesn’t serve you well to feel compulsive in optional obligations.

Wishing you lots of self-care, relaxation and boundary making in the new year and beyond !

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