The importance of keeping boundaries
Posted on 1st February 2023 at 08:30
It's OK to say no sometimes, and by doing so you are saying yes to you!
When we think about taking care of ourselves, the mind is often overlooked. We know to eat well, exercise regularly and get a good night’s sleep when assuring self-care, but what about caring for our minds? On an even deeper level our hearts.
Mindfulness gives us the tools to do this. Emotions are present in all of us, the way in which we process how we feel has a significant impact on our wellbeing. Quite often we supress our feelings, not taking time to even notice what’s going on and more importantly recognising the potential impact of self-neglect.
Our response can depend on how we look after ourselves, alongside our reactions. If we’ve had a good night’s sleep and feel balanced, we may be able to handle a little more stress, be there for others and be our best much of the time. The same goes for what we commit to, quite often we have a list of to dos and this can get too much, but we still try to squeeze it all in. Why? This can largely be driven by the need to please and be there for others, not wanting to feel inadequate, the classic ‘not good enough’.
For some reason down to immense pressure in our lives in almost every situation - online, the workplace, at home, school drop off, the social scene, the gym to name a few, the list goes on, we try to fit in as much as we can. Saying yes without even considering the impact on ourselves, our wellbeing. Because you can’t always see the effects of poor mind health the boundaries are pushed to the maximum, capacity overflowing, often these effects damaging and can result in burn out and much more. If you had broken a leg you wouldn’t be running to the shop, nor expected to do so, so why do we all at times feel the need to keep going in this way?
The reason we don’t feel comfortable implementing healthy boundaries for ourselves often comes down to self-worth and confidence, and when it's low no boundaries are in place at all. The thought of saying simply ‘saying no’ causing anxiety.
How can taking moments to be present without judgement create such huge beneficial change? Well, the reason being, Mindfulness teaches us to listen to what we need, to what’s important. We gain the confidence to say no and set boundaries, understanding that we must look after ourselves, bringing compassion to ourselves as well as others. Sometimes this means listening to your needs above those around you and this can be hard to do. Doing a little less, in turn you get to see and enjoy a lot more.
Boundaries are important, these won’t look the same to each of us and nor should they. There is not a one fits all. At times we go through life saying yes, not wishing to let people down, constantly keeping up, all the while not being mindful of how this will impact our health.
Mindfulness helps you notice when you aren’t looking after yourself, your awareness much sharper so as to have sight of the times when those boundaries are non-existent.
Practising mindfulness and meditation has given me the tools to notice my own emotions. To see when I need to put boundaries in place and by doing so I have gained a healthy balance, and in turn a healthier mind. I can fully experience everything from walking, cooking, simply making a cup of tea, and the joy of watching my children playing which used to go unnoticed. Being present has given me so much, I’m truly grateful. I no longer just rush through it all to get to the next thing. I also see by looking after myself when I give my time to others, I’m fully present not just again rushing through the motions ‘to get it done!’
The turning point for me was not when I learnt to sit with the good, the pleasures or day to day things / which of course is now far more pleasurable, it was when I was able to apply Mindfulness to the challenges I face, this including difficult emotions, the constant rise of anxiety rather than supressing it for fear of judgement. Saying no when I must is now essential. I can be present with what’s going on and have the tools to work through it and creating space to do this gives me freedom. This is applied to everything for me now, difficult customers or phone calls in my office job, challenges with people in my life. The ongoing battle I have had with anxiety.
Realising I am not those thoughts that arise, aware of the whole picture. I noticed what needed to change, I saw how by saying yes all the time not only was I burning out but also becoming resentful because I didn’t feel comfortable or confident to look after myself. To be able to be present, distance myself and become aware without that constant judgement has given me strength and confidence. This continues to strengthen.
Boundaries are crucial, when you notice that you say yes at detriment to yourself this is when you have to make that change. Look after you and understand that when you say no to someone else, you are saying yes to yourself and this is a must!
Tagged as: anxiety, boundaries, meditation, mindfulness
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