To grow up is to become aware of personal boundaries — one’s own and those of others. Often, these boundaries translate into unquestioning obedience to our elders, be they parents, siblings, or even teachers.
We learn to do life the way of our elders because it is the first and only way we have been taught.
However, as we become adults, we begin to consider alternatives and question the way we have learned to live, including our dynamics and relationships with others.
From the tone in which we communicate to the automatic responses we give, we often overlook the toxicity of our relationships as long as we can avoid conflict.
But if I’ve learned anything during my journey into my forties, it’s the importance of boundaries, standing up to injustice, and making ourselves heard.
This is precisely what Nancy Levin discusses in her book “Setting Boundaries Will Set You Free,” a gem that has helped me start thinking about my own boundaries.
Here I share with you some fundamental advice that Levin has left me with that has changed my life forever.
Personal boundaries: it is completely up to you
“It’s you who has been crossing your boundaries, and it’s your responsibility to maintain your boundaries as often as necessary or leave situations in which your boundaries are infringed,” Levin writes.
Yeah, we may be able to tell our loved ones about a certain issue, but how often does it happen that they say “okay, I get it” and go back to their old ways and cross the boundary (yet again)? It’s important to constantly remind them of your limits.
Permit yourself to set limits for your family
This one is hard. I often go back and forth with creating a boundary because, as Latinxs, we are raised having your parental figure in your business 24/7. That’s just the way it is. But you have a life too, and creating your dream life should be a priority, even if that means going against your mother’s wishes.
Move out, respond to her chisme after work hours, set the clear boundary, whether you tell them in person or by text, and give it time. They were once our age, too, and should understand the freedom we deserve.
Work boundaries: take your paid time off
We get that the hustle is real, but do you know what else is as important? Your mental health.
In this digital age, many of our jobs are remote, and with that comes Internet drainage. “A big reason for this is that technology allows us to lead 24/7 work lives with virtually no boundaries,” Forbes reports in their article “10 Ways To Set Healthy Boundaries At Work.” Unfortunately, It’s easier now than ever to blend in with our work and personal lives, especially with endless media at your fingertips. With that being said, make sure to take your paid time off – but for real. Get off the grid! Shut off your cell phone. I promise you the work emails will still be there on your day back. It’s not normal to be glued to your cell phone with anxiety as the email notifications chime in.
As always, if you need more tips and guidance, don’t be afraid to talk to a professional. These boundaries are hard to create and even harder to stay consistent with due to potential guilt, fear, or anxiety. As someone who is also practicing creating these boundaries, I suggest indulging in self-compassion and knowing that it’ll be all worth it in the end. You come first.