This year, I decided that I was going to create (and enforce) boundaries within my life circles. I am a people pleaser at my core. A solid Enneagram 2, I base my interactions on how others feel and how I am being of service to them. I am the best hype woman, filler of others’ cups before my own. If I’m honest, I’ve been this way most of my life, and boundaries have been a challenge.
When I first started defining my boundaries, I looked at how I felt within social interactions, specific circumstances, and with people who float in my circles. This will be easy, I thought to myself. Those around me are so great at making sure their boundaries are respected that surely mine would be as well. Here I am. the one who never speaks up for herself, speaking up. Indeed, it’ll mean something.
I was wrong.
It was as if everything I said was disregarded. It didn’t matter how I explained it, how I rationalized it. What I was saying did not matter. In turn, I felt as though I didn’t matter, and as someone who derives her worth from the approval of others (work in progress, I promise), it was a shot straight to the essence of my being. If others didn’t approve of it, it wasn’t deemed acceptable, and that hurt.
How can I even begin to enforce the boundaries I have created to bring me more peace?
I no longer apologize for speaking my needs and holding them firm. This is realized through a combination of pep talks from my husband, crazy angry journaling, talking with therapist friends, and deciding that I get to decide things – and maintaining firm stances while I have thirty seconds of courage. Definitely, close my eyes, and trust my feet to land situations, for sure. I can be compassionate and still have firm boundaries; boundaries are a form of self-care.
I do not apologize for saying no. No is a complete sentence. I don’t owe anyone an explanation; I don’t have to justify it.
I do not adjust my boundaries simply because you disagree with them.
I will not make myself smaller just because you are not used to my strength.
I will not yield just so that the so-called status quo is maintained.
I can do the things that I encourage others to do, and the reaction of others does not determine my worth.
It isn’t easy. There is a lot of misplaced guilt I feel when someone attempts to gaslight me into changing my mind. There are a lot of tears as I anxiously pace hardwoods, waiting for a text response. There are affirmations I have to say before enforcing a boundary, especially if it is with a close loved one. An ever work in progress, having unapologetic boundaries is the best thing for me.
But at the end of the day, I am just as deserving of respect and of having boundaries as anyone else- and you are, too.