I am sure you have heard someone tell you before “just say no.” That sounds so easy, right? Two simple letters and one syllable: no. But anytime you want to say no and every fiber of your being wants to say no — you blurt out “sure!” or “I can do that.”
You just had a long day of work and all you want to do is sit on the couch and binge Netflix; however, as soon as you get a call from your best friend to go to the mall you are quick to say “sure, see you soon!” We all know the feeling of being somewhere and all you want to do is spend your time doing something else. That feeling is why we need to set healthy boundaries.
What are healthy boundaries? Isn’t it incredibly rude to say no and not do what others want you to do? Spoiler: it is not rude or selfish to say no. It is necessary for you to be able to live a life that is dedicated to what you want to do and making yourself the happiest you can be. Setting healthy boundaries will have many positive effects in your life including: trusting others more, becoming less stressed, becoming more self-aware, and becoming a better friend and partner. Types of healthy boundaries that you should set in your life include: physical, emotional, spiritual, material, relationship, and conversational.
How do you set healthy boundaries? This is a struggle most people have. The first step in setting healthy boundaries is to be honest with yourself on what you want your boundaries to be. Take some time to reflect and start to write down your own personal boundaries. Examples include, “I need two nights a week on my own without any company,” or making a list of items you are and are not okay with sharing. You can always add or change on to your list of personal boundaries depending on what is and is not working. Be honest with yourself about your boundaries. There is no need to feel selfish while doing this. Once you have your list of healthy boundaries you can practice saying no and telling others when they are trying to overstep your boundary. For example, you can say, “That sounds fun, but tonight I have scheduled time with myself to watch a movie,” or, “That dress is really important to me so I don’t let others borrow it.” Remember to trust yourself through this process and to always be honest with yourself and others. Communication and honesty within yourself and to others is key to setting healthy boundaries.
Setting healthy boundaries is necessary in your life and there are plenty of steps you can take to set them. Remember to celebrate the small accomplishments and to take it day by day.
By NAMI Mercer Summer 2021 Intern Camryn Legra