Setting Boundaries as Necessary Self-Care
It’s Sunday here on Long Island and I can finally exhale. For me, Sundays signify rest, serenity, devotion and lots and lots of self-care. For many of us, when we think about self-care we picture bubble baths, scented candles, and freshly manicured nails. While pampering yourself is wonderful, it is important to recognize that true self-care stretches far beyond these actions.
Recently, I was faced with a challenging situation involving a long-term friendship. I was constantly extending myself for this ‘friend’ and I wasn’t getting much back in return. For weeks, I made excuses for him and his standoffish behavior. I would tell myself, ‘he is so busy,’ or ‘he is going through so much right now.’ And after spending a great deal of time analyzing and venting about this one-sided relationship, a mentor of mine brought up a good point. She asked me “If you ceased all communication do you think that he would reach out to you or would the friendship fizzle?” BOOM. An explosion of awareness. “No,” I replied. I recognized how I was the one keeping this friendship alive, while he put in little to no effort at all. And it hurt. But it also forced me to recognize that I wasn’t taking good care of myself, and a personal boundary needed to be put in place.
Setting boundaries in relationships is one of the most challenging things we will do. We expect people to put in the same amount of effort that we do, and when they don’t, we often make excuses for their behavior, as I did.
Here’s the truth: If someone wants to be a part of your journey they will make the effort to involve themselves, no matter how busy or distracted they are. It is natural for relationships to go through ebbs and flows of communication, but it isn’t natural or productive for one person to be putting forth all of the effort.
If this is the case for you, as it was for me, recognize that you need to provide yourself with the love and compassion you have been trying to give to others. Put yourself first instead of focusing on them. Recognize that you are just as important as they are. You are just as busy, and your time is just as precious as theirs. Instead of trying to force a relationship back to life, put that effort into your own life. Do the things that bring you joy and make you feel excited. Focus on the people that show you love and nurture those relationships. Allow the good stuff to grow and let the rest fall away.
Your future self will thank you <3