When I was younger, I used to think that boundaries automatically meant something negative. I always heard the word in context with ‘pushing the boundaries’ or as in the lines I couldn’t cross. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I realized setting personal boundaries—especially in terms of love, self-advocacy, faith, business, and mental health—are incredibly important if you want to become the best version of yourself.
With the holidays and the shift into the New Year, sometimes setting these personal boundaries can be difficult. There’s the expectation of ‘keeping the peace,’ of ‘being the better person,’ and of ‘acting right’ as you close out the past 365 days.
But you have to understand that standing up for yourself and what you need isn’t selfish; it’s self-care.
Here are six important personal boundaries to set as you head into 2020:
1. You don’t have to stay in a relationship that doesn’t feel right.
I hope that these words resonate with you far earlier than they did for me. If you’ve been following my writing over the years, you’d know that I often share honestly and vulnerably about the toxic relationships I’ve engaged in over the years. It took me a really long time to see my worth and understand that I didn’t have to stay with someone, simply because I loved them.
It’s the hardest thing in the world, but creating personal boundaries with loved ones sometimes means knowing when to fight, when to back off, and when to walk away.
2. You don’t have to put up with someone’s bad behavior to ‘keep the peace.’
This goes for any relationship you find yourself in—personal, professional, romantic, or platonic—you don’t need to make excuses for someone’s mistreatment in order to not ‘rock the boat.’ Forget the boat.
If someone isn’t treating you right or is mentally/physically abusive, you don’t need to ‘deal with it.’ You need to stand up for yourself, unapologetically.
3. You don’t have to apologize for mistakes you made years ago.
This is something that’s taken me a long time to learn. I try not to live life with regrets, but I’m guilty of looking back and feeling remorse over the things I’ve done. I try to make amends, try to apologize, or try to ‘fix’ things that sometimes aren’t meant to be fixed (or at least, not on my timeline).
This is toxic, and honestly, ends up hurting me more than if I would have just moved on. If you’re like me in this, and are looking over your shoulder at mistakes you made years ago, stop. The right people will recognize the person you’ve changed into and won’t make you be accountable for a version of yourself that no longer exists.
4. You don’t have to discuss things that make you feel uncomfortable.
Whether it’s a past relationship, a personal or professional decision, a political affiliation, a religious choice, etc. you don’t have to discuss the ins and outs of it if you don’t want to. And anyone who makes you feel as if you do, isn’t someone you need in your life.
Setting personal boundaries in terms of what you do and don’t want to discuss isn’t selfish, rude, or demanding. It’s simply knowing yourself enough to avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety.
5. You don’t have to be accountable for someone else’s actions.
People are going to let you down, hurt you and others, and act in ways that you never expected. And none of those decisions or actions define you. Don’t feel the need to apologize for someone else; they are not you responsibility.
6. You don’t have to prioritize someone who doesn’t prioritize you.
Setting personal boundaries means understanding where (and to who) your mental energy goes and prioritizing those who prioritize you. Although this seems a bit selfish, it’s not. This is about pouring into people who pour into you, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Featured Image Credit: Kinga Cichewicz