Promoting Self-Love by Setting Healthy Boundaries - Simply Woman

By on December 28, 2017

By Nola Parker

Self Love. It’s become something of a catchall phrase – overused to the point that its meaning is almost lost. If you ask a group of women the meaning of self-love, you’ll likely hear answers that run the gamut from self-acceptance to self-appreciation to pampering sessions. While those are all valid definitions and examples of self-love, there’s one example of loving yourself that doesn’t always make the list – but definitely should – setting boundaries. Setting boundaries lets you create a healthy distance from people (no matter how well-meaning) who are emotionally draining, who perpetually throw jabs your way, or who respond in patronizing, condescending ways that devalue what you bring to the table.

One of the best ways to practice self-love is by setting personal boundaries. Setting those boundaries has a two-fold effect. First, it teaches you to how to protect your heart and mind. Secondly, it teaches others how to treat you. Not having those boundaries in place is a sure way to leave yourself open for intentional and unintentional mistreatment and physical and emotional abuse.

Setting boundaries for yourself means being transparent and honest with yourself, having a healthy interest in your own happiness and well-being, and knowing and understanding your self-worth. When you exhibit self-love by setting healthy boundaries, you put yourself in a position to enjoy life to its fullest and to avoid many of the frustrations and irritations that currently plague you. That’s because boundaries are simply the limits you set. That can mean limiting yourself to a certain amount of berating from your inner critic. When you learn to do that, it helps you reclaim your time, reclaim your balance, and reclaim your sanity. In fact, setting boundaries that limit self-criticism and self-doubt can lead you to a new understanding of yourself. It can help you find the courage to take calculated risks and help you create the life and build the future you want.

Whoever said that experience is a good teacher was right! Past experiences that left you feeling taken for granted, taken advantage of, frustrated, or resentful are prime examples of times when your boundaries were unclear. Setting boundaries gives you the freedom to define your physical, emotional, and intellectual starting, and more importantly, stopping points. You must learn when to be assertive and when being assertive really matters. Being assertive is a good start – but the real setting of boundaries happens in the follow up. Saying a firm no to an initial request won’t matter if you allow yourself to be sweet talked, schmoozed, or otherwise cajoled into a reluctant yes. When you fail to follow through, you make your own boundaries pointless.

Want to really set firm boundaries? Learn the most powerful two letter word in the world – NO. Those two letters have power! They can free you from unwanted obligations, create time for things you’ve always dreamed of doing, and foster constructive communication that positively impacts the quality of your life. Saying no allows you to choose who you want in your life and what role they get to play. Nothing says, “I love me”, like exercising your right to decide who plays what part in your life. Do yourself a favor and phase Negative Nancy, Gossiping Gloria, and Nosy Nellie out of the picture.

“Friends” who cannot celebrate your wins, champion your choices, or mind their own business are in your life because you let them in. Stop it. We’ve all heard the expression, Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. The same logic applies when you’re establishing your personal boundaries and limitations. Setting boundaries means you have attained a level of self-awareness that creates a transformation in the way you treat yourself and in the way other people treat you.

Another important part of setting boundaries is learning how to tell people they’ve crossed over into your lane. This falls into the category of teaching people how to treat you. Here’s an example: Sabrina does not like pop-in visits to her home. She prefers enough notice to ensure her home is neat and tidy and she is well dressed and neatly groomed. Who doesn’t? Her friends might be completely oblivious to her preferences if she repeatedly allows them to drop by unexpectedly. There’s a simple solution to Sabrina’s boundary issues. Simply by answering the door and politely stating that this isn’t a good time and requesting a scheduled visit – or by not answering the door at all. Not making your boundaries clear leads to resentment from you and frustration for others.

One final thought. If for no other reason setting boundaries is a smart life goal because it’s a way of creating space and freedom. Creating space leaves you with the time you need to pursue the life you want, to support friends and family in the ways you choose, and to take firm charge of your future. Creating freedom equips you with the ability to say no, provide you with freedom from guilt, and frees from the unhealthy restrictions of self-doubt. Without those boundaries, you allow people to bring toxic energy and negative energy into your life. You also leave the door wide open for mistreatment, miscommunication, and physical and emotional abuse. Protecting your energy and having boundaries in place is only the beginning of understanding, learning, and truly valuing your self-worth.


NP17Nola Parker is a six-time published author, coach, and exemplary teacher. Drawing from her wealth of experience in life, she utilizes well-validated techniques and principles, which have proven to be effective over time. Nola uses her creative writings as a tool to fight against all sorts of abuse and maltreatment in the society.

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