This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge
Self-care is respecting yourself enough to bravely enforce personal boundaries, even at the risk of disappointing others
Personal boundaries are a vital part of our daily self-care. It sets the tone for how we wish to be treated, by others and by ourselves.
This is not something that I learned quickly. I have a tendency towards people pleasing and a massive fear of conflict. These two combined means I am at risk of letting my boundaries drop if I think I will upset or disappoint someone by asserting them.
The trick to learning boundary setting, was in first learning to love and respect myself.
It was only when I realised my own worth, that I stopped needing others approval. Once I loved myself and knew myself as deserving of respect, I then began to feel brave enough to assert my needs and beliefs, even when that did mean having to say no to someone.
Making sure to set and assert my boundaries is now part of my daily self-care, in my personal life and in my work life. Boundaries can vary with different people in our lives and in different work situations.
There is no hard and fast rule, it is about finding out where your limit is, with particular people and in various situations, what you are willing to compromise and what you insist on sticking too.
In my situation, with the amount of open sharing I do, setting boundaries can be somewhat complicated. My boundaries when I share via video or written form are much easier to enforce. I know how open I want to be and I never go beyond that. However, when talking directly to people, either online or face to face, boundaries can be more difficult to enforce.
When I am wearing my work hat, if I am asked questions, I will share openly about myself if it will benefit that person. However, when I take my work hat off, I am much stricter in the number of questions I will answer. The issue is that people see I talk frankly about myself online and they can think that it is OK to for them, in turn, to share with people they know, about things I have said, or they think it is OK to quiz me constantly on very personal topics. I can find it hard at times to alternate between the two hats I wear, the work/public Finn and the social/private Finn.
With my established friendship group I have a tried and tested formula which works, but when new people come into my life, everything is thrown off balance.
Therefore it is important that boundaries are revisited continuously as our work, and personal situations change. This is something I have become acutely aware of over this last week. For example, in my now branching out into writing, I am sharing even more of my self. The memoir I am writing and the personal essays I am submitting for publishing contains incidents I have not mentioned publically before. I need to reflect on how much I am willing to share and the repercussions from this.
Additionally, I have a new partner in my life and with him comes his family and friends. I have to get to know the dynamics in our new relationship, and what each of us expects of the other. In entering his family and social circle, they are understandably curious about my being trans. However, I have to be balanced between answering some of their questions and saying no when I feel I have given enough of my personal self.
My tendency towards people pleasing and my fear of upsetting people has not left me, I have just learnt to be mindful of it and keep it in check.
With new people in my life and new opportunities, I want to, of course, be the best me. However, this need, if I am not careful, can cause me to lower my boundaries and let people treat me in ways I do not wish to be treated. I must remind myself that being my best self and being loved, should never come at the expense of my values and wellbeing.