I read a timely article last week titled, 5 ways to stay strong as an INFJ empath. It lead me to a couple of additional posts on creating personal boundaries. To be honest, it was a big wake up call. While I’ve definitely made progress in being less of a people-pleaser, I’ve still been allowing others to do whatever they wanted at times. Often excusing their behaviour by blaming myself for being too uptight.
Creating boundaries for myself and writing them out will help me recognize when someone crosses the line. Writing out steps to take when this happens will help me react more quickly. Creating and enforcing these boundaries will give me more control over my life and increase my own self respect. Here are a few boundaries I am going to start enforcing.
1. I have the right to be heard.
I listen quietly and attentively when others speak and I deserve the same consideration. If you interrupt me (intentionally or without apology), talk over me, or are condescending to me, that’s unacceptable.
If someones does any of the above, I will courteously let them know they’re being rude. If they repeatedly cross this line, and don’t seem to be trying to change, I’ll avoid speaking with them in the future.
2. I have the right to say no.
I don’t have to say yes in order to please other people. I also have the right to ask for more information without committing. It’s a lot easier to change my no to yes, than the other way around.
If someone assumes my participation, I’ll let them know that I haven’t made a decision yet. If I’m given an invitation, I’ll tell them I need to think about it first. If I don’t want to do something, I will say no. I won’t make excuses or apologize either.
3. I have the right to change my mind.
Life is unpredictable. Sometimes I may not have the energy to do something I previously agreed to. Rather than forcing myself to go and struggling the entire time, I’ll politely cancel. It’s far more important to take care of my physical and mental health.
If I don’t feel well, or I’m already overwhelmed, I will bow out of a commitment without feeling guilty. However, I will give as much notice as I can to the other party.
4. I can choose whether to engage in physical contact, or not.
If I’m feeling burned out or overwhelmed, sometimes the touch of another person is too much to handle. Pressuring me into giving you a hug makes me very uncomfortable. You cannot come into my personal space unless I allow it.
If someone initiates physical contact, and I’m already overstimulated, I’ll politely step away and explain how I’m feeling. It’s nothing against them personally, I just need more space at times.
5. My personal belongings deserve respect.
My purse and phone are my own personal property. If you need something from my bag, I’ll grab it for you. If you’d like to see specific pictures on my phone, I’ll show you. That does not entitle you to peruse the contents of my phone yourself or rifle though my bag. No, I’m not hiding anything, those things just doesn’t belong to you.
If you take liberties with my personal items, I won’t trust you alone with them in the future. If you want to see something of mine, you need to ask every time.
6. You will not shame me for being healthy.
I follow a healthy and clean diet due to a number of food sensitivities. I’m a healthy weight and I consume the correct number of calories based on my height, weight, and activity level. Do not make comments about my needing to gain weight, lose weight, my appearance, etc.
If you tell me to ‘eat a cheeseburger’ (which has happened on multiple occasions), I will politely correct you. Do not shame my good food choices because you may feel poorly about your own.
7. You will not shame me for being strong.
Unfortunately, there is still a bias against strong women. We’re told not to lift “too heavy” because we’ll get “too big”. Weightlifting has had an incredibly positive impact on my life. I can now lift heavy boxes and furniture when friends need help moving. I can carry tables and chairs to set up for events. I have increased self confidence and feel better both physically and mentally.
If someone makes a negative or ignorant comment, I will politely explain that it isn’t true and show them how weightlifting has helped me.
8. I have the right to take time before replying to phone calls or voicemail.
Unless its an emergency, I will not instantly reply to your phone call or voicemail. I also have the right to keep my phone on silent. I don’t need to be on call for everyone in my social circle at all times. If you call me, I probably won’t answer unless I’m expecting your call. If you leave a voicemail, I’ll get back to you within the day.
Let me know that you’ll be giving me a call on a certain day around a certain time and I’ll be ready for it. Otherwise, I’ll either send you a text or call you back later.
9. You need to give me notice.
I love having people over to my place. However, I need 24 hours MINIMUM to prepare, preferably longer. There are often clean dishes to be put away or clean laundry that needs to be hung up. I also need time to mentally prepare for the visit.
If you try to invite yourself over, I’ll pretend I didn’t hear you. If you just want to “drop in” for a bit without giving me enough warning, I’ll either decline, or suggest we go to a nearby coffee shop instead.
What are some of your boundaries and how do you enforce them?