2021 has been the year of the boundary. Well, it’s been a work in progress, but that’s the overarching goal of this year. Last year, everyone was put through the ringer when the world practically stopped turning overnight. Everyone is still wading into “real life” that it’s hard to have goals, be productive, and set healthy boundaries. I’m really moving forward with the mindset that I have a bubble that should never be popped – not for friends, followers, or family. Allowing myself to have boundaries that keep me comfortable and aware of my own mental health is necessary to be the best possible version of myself that I want to present to myself. So, whatever you do, don’t pop my bubble!
Healthy Boundaries at Work
As most of you know, I’m my own boss. It comes with a huge pile of advantages, but also has some disadvantages that go hand-in-hand. For a person who’s a little fixated on control and success, like me, working from home can be really toxic. I’ve been known to wake up and do a couple hours of work in the middle of the night. I can’t get myself to sleep without feeling more productive when my head hits the pillow.
This year, I’ve started to set some boundaries when it comes to working. For one, I’ve stopped lowballing myself, my experience, and my time. I was creating contracts for people for a couple hundred dollars a month that would go for thousands if I was at a private PR agency. Stepping away from corporate life was my choice, but it doesn’t mean that my experience or education level is different from my counterparts!
I started to charge closer to an industry average. When it gets to be too late, I’m only on social media of my own for pleasure, rather than work. Physically, I outlined what I do (or what I expect to do for work) so that I had an extremely clear answer when someone approached me for work. All of my contracts were rewritten and rephrased to have more boundaries like: times in which I can be available, hours I’ll work, and other contingencies I just didn’t have.
When I Didn’t Fit, I Left!
My clients were all really receptive and appreciative of these boundaries. Not only did they benefit me, but they clearly defined my role in their business as well. Prior to this year, I was so concerned about making my business a success that I would stay in contracts that might not have fit what I envisioned my role being with EmyD. After creating these boundaries, I fulfilled contracts and then professionally stepped away when I felt that I wasn’t a good fit for the position, rather than forcing myself into the position!
Healthy Boundaries Online
I’ve written a blog about sharing online already. You’ll definitely come across some bloggers that find a lot of comfort in sharing their story online and hitting publish (like me!) You’ll also, however, find bloggers who don’t produce a lot of super personal content. Is either one better? Absolutely not. Blogs fulfill the needs of those writing them and those reading them, so what’s your cup of tea might not be mine!
This year, I’ve realized the need for even more boundaries online as my following grows and more blogs are written. I’ve had followers find my personal number and send me sexually explicit images and texts. I’ve had people call me just to “talk”. It’s made me feel unsafe and a little icky. Though most people are very receptive when I express this, I have to constantly emphasize that though I may speak about mental health, it’s not healthy for me to take others’ mental health issues onto myself. I’ve had to clearly draw the line between “influencer” and my real life. Without it, I felt like I was living just to take photos and share them with people I didn’t know. Life was starting to feel catered to social media, which I never want to happen.
Healthy Boundaries with Loved Ones
You all know I’m an empath through and through. Breathing a little differently in my presence could cause me to ask you what’s wrong…even if nothing is. This is also thanks to a little friend I call anxiety, which makes me rethink the words and actions I have for what feels like forever. The lack of boundaries when it came to loved ones was starting to drive me a little crazy though.
This year, I’ve been really trying to only spend my time and energy on what makes me feel good. That includes the people in my life. For so long, I was terrified of being alone and friendless that I wouldn’t speak up if I felt mistreated or upset. Recently, I’ve realized that I would rather be completely alone than feel upset in a group.
Being social doesn’t just happen everyday for me. Listening to my body and mind about whether I actually WANT to get on the Zoom or go to drinks has been life changing. It’s made me feel a lot more autonomy over my body. Also, when I do see my loved ones, its really really great because I feel good about being there!
Mindset to Help with This
Creating a bubble between you and the people you love is difficult! But, in order for you to be a great friend, sibling, boss, coworker, or whatever else you are, you need to advocate for yourself! One mindset that has really been getting me through is “If someone is mad at me or upset with me, it’s none of my business until they tell me”. It’s one of the first things you learn in Jen Sincero’s “You Are a Badass”!
It’s much easier said than actually implemented. Those of us with anxiety, however, it can really benefit making boundaries and sticking to them when it comes to advocating for yourself! If someone is unwilling to address a problem with you and validate your boundaries, why would you spend any amount of time thinking about it?! Remember, though, the same goes for your loved ones from you! If you’re unwilling to advocate for your boundaries or speak up about your problems, don’t expect them to spend anytime thinking about it!
Boundaries are really really cool. As a society, we’ve started to think that social media, television, or gossip is the all-access pass into someone else’s life. At the end of the day, though, we all deserve to feel safe and calm in our own thoughts. Take it from someone who has told the whole Internet what her mental health chart says. Allowing yourself a healthy space so that you can feel autonomy, comfort, safety is essential. Boundaries make you a better person all around and much more empathetic when people are in need of you! So, I’ll say it again, don’t pop my bubble!
Trying to set boundaries? I want to hear about them! Connect with me on any of my socials!