Boundaries - The mental wellbeing support system each of us should have in place

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It’s World Mental Health Day. Acknowledging that mental health is something that we need to be aware of and that we need to take better care of ourselves is long overdue. It’s great to see so many people acknowledging the day and that mental health issues are real.

We all struggle as sometime or another with managing our relationships with others. What do we put in place to ensure that we don’t become lost in everyone else’s expectation of us?

Here’s a reminder of something that can really help us to protect our mental wellbeing and help us not to get lost… Boundaries.

The oxford dictionary defines a boundary as

“A line which marks the limits of an area; a dividing line”

I see boundaries as perimeters. You can go so far and then no further. Boundaries protect us, they keep help to keep out the bad stuff and help us to not over comprise. Boundaries are crucial to relationships because, let’s be honest, its often our interactions with other human beings that mess us up the most.

When we have clear boundaries with others we are able to protect ourselves but also happily navigate our relationships because everyone is clear where they stand. Ever so often people will test our boundaries. Our responsibility is to ensure that we hold our boundaries in place.

If you have children, you’ll know that when the boundaries are clear and are being held in place they operate happily within that boundary. Ever so often they will test the boundary to see if it’s still in place. If it is, then great, if it isn’t that’s when you see their behaviours change and become challenging. They want the boundary. We should want it too.

Setting boundaries is the easier part, the challenge comes when we have to hold them. This includes saying “No” to things and people that don’t honour you, pushing back when someone is encroaching on your space or work, questioning when something is wrong, and you are out of pocket for it, challenging language and behaviour that is insulting or abusive, asking for more information and the list goes on.

We often feel lost when we have not set or are not holding our boundaries. When we are in this place we feel like we are at everyone’s mercy and powerless to change, it affects our actions and conversations and most of all our feelings of self-worth.

We teach people how to treat us all the time, whether we hold our boundaries or not. I appreciate that it can be awkward at first to hold your boundaries but the more you do the better you will feel and sooner you will be able to recognise toxic people in your life.

So, go on, try it out today because the more you do, the more you’ll do it.