Self Love is Setting Boundaries
Theresa Polley
December 17, 2023
January 15, 2024
Self Care

I used to be that person with no boundaries. I gave of my time, energy and resources tirelessly, until I was exhausted and depleted. Without boundaries, I lost myself. 

Boundaries are not only necessary, but should be non-negotiable. Fair warning: setting boundaries may offend the person who has been taking advantage of your lack of boundaries.

Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept. ~ Anna Taylor

Why Boundaries Are Important

Setting boundaries isn't mean or selfish—boundaries are part of self care and a way to practice self love. If we don’t have boundaries how are we able to prioritize what we need? 

From experience, I know my boundaries must be  firmly in place, or it’s likely someone will try to manipulate me into doing what they WANT me to do. Versus what I NEED to do for my mental well being. When I double down on my boundaries they will be the one who calls me out for being uncaring and selfish. The irony! 

In the past, that strategy worked. Not anymore. I realize I have too much at stake to let myself be subjected to the wants and needs of anyone else besides myself.

Examples of Not Having Boundaries in Place

  • Taking responsibility for someone else’s behavior or actions
  • Doing more than your share at work or in a relationship (you are over functioning while someone else is under functioning)
  • Giving advice and trying to “fix” others
  • Codependent relationships, i.e. being afraid of losing someone if you set a boundary
  • Letting everyone have 24-hour access to you
  • Spending hours at a time on social media

Hidden Danger of Social Media

With social media, where seemingly everyone shares every thought and emotion without a filter, it can feel like you need to do the same. But you don't. Having boundaries means you get to decide how much you share or don't share—of your thoughts, your time, your energy and most importantly, your life.

Benefits of Boundaries

  • Separate your personal life from your work life.
  • Differentiate your family and friend time from your personal time.
  • Free yourself from taking responsibility for someone else’s actions, emotions or life—that responsibility lies with them.
  • Make yourself and your needs a priority.

How to Set a Boundary

Setting boundaries takes courage, practice and sticking with it, especially when it seems easier to give in. Consistently enforcing boundaries tells people how you want and deserve to be treated. 

  • Be calm
  • Be clear
  • Be straightforward
  • Be respectful
  • No need to justify or rationalize setting a boundary
  • Definitely don't apologize for setting a boundary

Sometimes a boundary means completely removing someone (a friend or family member even) from your life. Difficult, yes, but it is self preservation—especially when we recognize those individuals who try to make us responsible for their behaviors and feelings while taking no responsibility at all. It's okay to:

  • Set boundaries with your family, your friends, your partner and your job.
  • Say no, with no explanation.
  • Change your mind. 
  • Not answer calls or texts immediately.
  • Remove or distance yourself from someone who doesn’t respect your boundaries.

Examples of Boundaries

  1. Limit time with (or better yet remove from your life) anyone who refuses to respect your boundaries.
  2. Say no to things that don't make sense for you or your life right now.
  3. Be intentional with screen time.
  4. Leave work at work. If you work from home or bring it home, limit your time and set a designated space.
  5. Don't make excuses for other adults' behavior.
  6. Allow others (kids, partner, friends) to do their share without jumping in and “helping.”
  7. Limit the amount of time you spend with anyone who drains your energy or doesn’t respect your boundaries..

Realizing not everyone needs 24/7 access to you allows you to make a powerful change in your life. By setting boundaries you, and only you, get to decide how much access each person in your life gets so you can focus on what you need.  

Give yourself the life you deserve with boundaries—the freedom from being responsible for anybody else but yourself. 

If you're looking to take your boundary game to the next level, I highly recommend this 10-Day Boundary Challenge on Insight Timer!

This blog is intended to provide helpful suggestions for self care and overall well-being. I am not a mental health professional. If you’re struggling I encourage you to seek the help of a professional. Find a Mental Health Professional | National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Dial 988

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Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

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