I’m truly finding it difficult to find the right words for this post. I’m in a pickle that involves my personal boundaries that I’ve set for myself and the guilt I’m feeling for standing my ground. In the past, I wouldn’t necessarily have had the guts to stand my ground this firmly, especially after several people close to me try to list reason after reason why I should break my boundary and why I am a huge disappointment to them for saying “no.”
Ah, saying no. Something we women are known for having a very difficult time doing. If saying no is something we were good at there wouldn’t be over a million search results that pop up when searching “how to say no.” Clearly, it’s something we are bad at, and I’m tired of being one of those people who can easily get guilted into doing something I honestly don’t want to do. It’s easier for me to say no to some people, but it’s incredibly difficult for me to do, especially without getting significant backlash, when it comes to family.
Having been a people pleaser my entire life, the last thing I want to hear is “I’m disappointed in you” or to have someone mad at me, so to prevent that from happening I would keep my mouth shut about how much I don’t want to do something and give of my time and/or resources anyway. More often than not this results in developing some negative feelings towards that person or thing, and the more I time I’m spending on this Earth the less tolerance I’m developing for feeling those negative emotions. I’m truly over harboring resentment and bitterness, and I want to approach every area of my life with joy and peace. Even if it’s something I don’t want to do, I can still do it joyfully. However, I feel like the lines in life are starting to blur together and what I value and prioritize is not getting respected by others, and this is an unacceptable thing.
Recently I’ve started setting boundaries and let me tell you, it has ruffled some feathers. As I’ve gotten older, gotten married, and started a life that is separate from the home I grew up in, I’ve learned a lot about myself, the kind of goals I want to have set for my life, the desires my husband and I have for our life together, and the priorities I need to have set to be my best and happiest self. Learning these things and setting these goals came with a list of commitments and boundaries, and I’m finding that many of the things on this list people on the outside don’t really understand.
As humans are all a little (or a lot) misunderstood. I don’t claim to fully know or understand anyone’s story or anyone’s truth other than my own. All I can give you is a little more information about me so you know exactly where I’m coming from and what my truths are. This is me (and now you’re singing that song from The Greatest Showman. You’re welcome!), and this is a little more of my thoughts about the parts of my life that are often misunderstood, even by those close to me.
I am a stay at home housewife with no kids. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams to have a husband that is able to support both of us so I can stay at home. My husband and I have also made the choice to not have children, for many reasons. My disease and my ability to care for a child on my own without completely killing myself happen to be one of them, but more than that we just don’t want kids. We both enjoy not having to look after and worry about someone 24/7, being able to go on adult vacations or go do activities without having to worry about childcare. My husband travels for work a lot, which means I would be on my own 80% of the time or my husband would have to change jobs. Both of these situations would leave one of us extremely unhappy. I have to spend a lot of time worrying about and working on my health and my functionality, and I know that would get severely compromised. So yes, I am a stay at home housewife with no kids. Again, I know how rare it is, and how it might seem that I can get away with sitting at home “eating bonbons” (as my husband would jokingly say), but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Taking care of the home, making sure there’s always enough food to make sure my picky husband has plenty of options while he sometimes works all weekend (after traveling all week), trying to keep my home tidy and clean (while it’s not a priority to some, it absolutely is a priority to me), and doing my best to make sure my husband and I don’t have to do much of the home stuff on the weekends so we can enjoy time together, with friends and family, and do things we want to do other than housework, is a LOT of work, even without kids. Trust me.
Diva and the Divine is my job. To top all of that off, technically, I have a job. I’m doing it as we speak, at this very moment. Most people I know don’t understand the kind of work and the many hours that go into creating online content, but it’s a lot. Like, a whole lot! Ladies and gentleman, allow me to publically declare that just because I don’t leave the house for work doesn’t mean I don’t have a job that requires my time and commitment. I know a handful of people that work from home, but since they work for actual companies people treat it differently, but in actuality, it’s not. Does it mean that I have a little more freedom in scheduling appointments? Yes, of course, it does, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t have a regular work commitment where I should be considered “at work” and unavailable.
My husband and I both value our time at the gym. I have at least 3 of my workouts in my schedule, blocked off and rarely negotiable each and every week. Skipping one of these workouts messes with my body and my head. It’s stress relief, it’s soul cleansing, it’s building muscle on a body that is wired to destroy it, and it’s also burning off the extra calories required to help me reach my weight loss goals. This is not a hard thing for like-minded, health and fitness-driven people to understand, but for those who can’t relate it’s apparently an absurd thing to prioritize.
My husband and I also have a goal and commitment to each other. We are both constantly striving to be the best spouse we can possibly be to one another. It’s not that the rest of the family isn’t important, but with the exception of my relationship with God, my relationship to my husband is the most important relationship in my life. I am so very blessed to have a man that feels the same way about me, and that is something I will strive to be worthy of for the rest of my life.
The definition of a boundary:
plural noun: boundaries
a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.
Lines that mark the limits of an area. Obviously, these lines are not lines that you want to have blurred. These lines should be solid and unmovable. Every time you let someone cross said line, the line becomes a little bit blurry and a little more penetrable, meaning it’s more likely to let someone across again. There are great books about boundaries in dating and marriage that talk about lines that shouldn’t be crossed, so why is it so looked down upon to set a few personal ones for yourself?
Setting boundaries require you to take a look at what is important to you and then decide what kind of boundaries need to be set (in hard, dark black lines) in order to protect those things. You can set boundaries for many different areas of your life, and I’m starting to realize why people do it. From your significant others, work, adult family, and even boundaries with your children are all very important. While I am still working through what exactly my boundaries in life will be, here are some examples I’ve found while doing so research and inspiration for this post:
- Not taking personal calls during work hours
- Telling your children they always have to knock before opening a closed bedroom door
- Giving you and your spouse one night a week where you both do your own things separate from one another
- Requiring significant notice (2 days, 2 weeks..whatever works for you) when being asked for your time (childcare, dinner plans, etc) and hoping for a positive answer.
- Walking away from conversations that contain topics you’re uncomfortable with
- A set date night every week, no exceptions
- Visitors are out of the house by 10 pm
The list could be endless, and I’d love to hear what some of the boundaries you’ve set in your life are. Let me know in the comments (or in an email if you don’t want to post them)
Something to note about boundaries: when you start setting them and sticking to them, people will likely react negatively. This reaction is on them, not on you. More often than not people’s reactions to you will have nothing to do with you, but everything to do with them (I’ve heard that quote several times lately and I can’t remember from where). Setting your boundaries and sticking to them will actually help your relationships in the long run. Now that you have a set of rules and expectations that people are aware of there is much smaller chance of someone asking you to do something that you don’t want to do because it doesn’t align with your boundaries. This, in turn, results in you ending up with fewer negative emotions and not resenting that person. Happy day to everyone!
Bottom line: Boundaries are a great thing, and as I’m trying to shake off the negative emotions of this morning (and trust me, there were a lot of them), I’m feeling very positive about my desire to set and stick to some new boundaries and reinforce some old ones that have blurry lines. Now, am I saying don’t help in times of great need or there aren’t exceptions? No..BUT those times are meant to be just that, exceptions that happen on a rare occasion. Stick to your guns, my friend, and create those boundaries that will help you live your best life so you can be the best version of you for the world around you.