“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” Brene Brown.
It is common for us to forget about ourselves when we are taking care of other people. Humans, by nature, have the trait in themselves to care, show mercy, and be compassionate about living things. In most cases, it is a necessity – a driving force in the universe that keeps the flow of faith running smooth. However, when this gets out of balance because you are putting others before yourself, it results in a lot of frustration and self-destruction as you cannot neglect yourself to take care of others.
It is essential to know that you cannot pour from an empty cup, so putting everyone else’s need above yours at the expense of your peace can lead you to a lot of trouble. Also, not everyone deserves it. Eventually, you will see that you are unable to do anything for yourself. Even small things seem like a huge burden to you, and you are unable to give your best to the people who need you. This “running out of fuel” feeling is actually toxic, and if not addressed in time, it can land you in a real mess.
1. Know And Write Down Your Boundaries
You need to make sure you have some boundaries and write them down on a piece of paper. Do revise them whenever required and dive into the details. Spend some time with yourself evaluating all that you need to know about your values, beliefs, and feelings. What is it that will drain your energy? What is it that will make you feel fulfilled?
By knowing the answers to these questions, you will be better able to clearly identify how creating boundaries work for you in the best possible way. As you learn about your limits, start implementing them in your daily life. This will help you stay safe from any intrusions.
2. Ponder Upon Your Daily Routine
Before you go to bed, it is important to review the whole day that you spend doing different things. Ponder upon all the routine activities and figure out the tasks that drained you out. Were these for other people? Were people asking you for undue favors, and you found yourself doing them anyway? Was there a way to avoid it, but you did not use it?
All of these questions will help you realize and see the truth of your routine life. You will be better able to identify all the negative things that drain your energy on a daily basis and stop you from feeling your best. You will know what you could have said or done to avoid the situations, which will help you form response strategies for the future.
3. Set Healthy Boundaries with People
“Boundaries need to be communicated first verbally and then with actions.” Henry Cloud
After you have written your boundaries, it is time to put the strategy in full swing action. When you are interacting with other people, it is vital to have an insight into the conversation. You need to be able to quickly assess if they are asking for any undue favors or if a certain thing is too much of work for you.
Depending upon these things, it will be helpful for you to know when to stop the conversation and create a limitation. This will end the tragedy right there, and you wouldn’t find yourself in the vicious cycle of draining yourself and helping people at the expense of yourself.
4. A Strong NO is Always Helpful
“No is a complete sentence.” Anne Lamont.
When working towards creating healthy boundaries with people, it is essential to work on a simple yet powerful word: NO. This comes as one of the hardest things to say, even when you want to say it out loud. You fear that saying this to someone else will mean that you are being rude to them.
However, this is not the case – in every sense. You have the absolute right to say NO to a thing you are not comfortable doing. You don’t have to be vague about this or give false hope to others. Simply reject it politely but be as clear and firm about it as possible. You don’t have to feel guilty about it in any way.
5. Be Clear about Yourself
Be clear in your communication with other people and yourself as well. Let yourself know what is it that you want and what is it that will make you uncomfortable in any regard.
When it comes to others, your words should be assertive, easy to understand, and clear in their meaning. Instead of beating about the bush, it is always helpful to be straightforward and come with a clear conscience. This will not only let others know what you don’t want but also will save everyone’s time, including yours.
6. Don’t Get Used
There’s a high tendency of getting used when you are altruistically helping other people. It may lead you to dangers besides wasting your time and energy.
So, be clear to assess the true intentions of others with small gestures. Do they provide you with full information about their wishes? Are they grateful to you? Are they honest and transparent to you about their feelings? All these factors are necessary to note when you are interacting with a person and they are asking you for any favors.
7. Respect Your Growth
As much as it may sound cliché to you, you need to keep a check on your growth by all means. No, it doesn’t mean that you are selfish in any way. Respecting your growth means that you don’t have to feel bad about outgrowing other people because you think your priorities don’t match them anymore, and it is your fault.
By any means, it is not important to stick to people no matter what just because you have a history together. Don’t feel like it’s your duty to help them out. Instead, see what you can do for another person without going out of your way. If you are putting others before yourself at the expense of your growth, you are doing a major injustice to yourself.
8. Look for Codependency Triggers
Codependent relationships are those in which you are expected to go all-in with the best you have to offer, while the other person is totally dependent on you. They don’t give anything in return, and this lack of reciprocation makes a relationship toxic. Soon, you find yourself in a vicious cycle of toxicity that you are not able to get out from easily.
This eventually a person you so it is best for you to identify any triggers for this. You need to pause and see if this person is reciprocating you and being genuine or if they are only being dependent on you and using you.
9. Practice Different Self-Care Habits
Practicing different self-care habits teach you that you can put yourself first, and you don’t have to always take care of other people around you. It teaches you that taking care of your needs is also an essential part of life which, if forgotten, can result in you getting damaged.
Making self-care habits such as meditating or having a skincare routine every day are important reminders that you can take time out for yourself, and you don’t have to feel guilty about it.
10. Identify the Patterns of A Toxic Person
A toxic person shows different habits and behaviors that are cyclical. If you are observing enough, you will be able to see that these individuals have a habit of making you entrapped in their situations, so you feel obligated to help them out no matter what.
For example, they can start blackmailing you emotionally when you are putting yourself first in any regard. There are different patterns that you can read between the lines. So, identify such people and keep them at a distance.
11. Be Mindful of Your Values
To put yourself first, you need to be mindful of your values. If serving someone doesn’t align with what you truly care for, you will lose all your inner satisfaction. Therefore, it is vital to take the time to see what values matter to you.
Going against your values can leave you feeling dissonant inside, and you can end up feeling overwhelmed. This can make you ignore your own needs, and you soon feel like an empty cup.
12. Enable, Don’t Disable
Another thing to learn in all of this is how to enable and not disable someone you are helping. While going out of the way and prioritizing others means you are caring and kind, it is often detrimental for the other person. This is because you are providing them with everything and they soon start to feel they don’t have to do anything themselves. They start believing you will always be there for them. You need to realize this and make yourself stop for both your and the other person’s sake.
So, now you know how to put yourself first.
In short, caring for people while keeping a balance is fine. The trouble starts when you cross your own boundaries and begin to put yourself behind everything. This ultimately affects you and your life. However, following the tips we have shared, you can stop being a victim and start putting yourself first.