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How Setting Boundaries Has Completely Changed My Life

Through the years I have had trouble setting boundaries. I would stretch myself thin doing things for others and putting their needs before mine, even if they didn’t do the same for me. It has taken years and many toxic relationships for me to understand the importance of boundaries and I still have trouble setting them. But, even now I can see the huge difference they make in my life. 

By making more boundaries I am able to put myself first. I have lost some friends but looking back on these relationships, they were causing me emotional distress. I found that I am much healthier and happier with these boundaries in my life. I still find myself noticing that I have let people go too far but noticing that has shown that I have grown.

The biggest thing that makes setting boundaries so hard is people’s reactions. People will get used to what you give them so when you take it back and set up boundaries some people will not respect those. You need to take notice of the people who don’t respect your new boundaries, these people are not the people you need in your life. 

This can be hard and it will take some time but as soon as you start putting up boundaries you will notice the positive impact it has on you and your mental health. Here are some boundaries that I have started putting up in my life: 

Saying NO: 

One of the hardest things for me to do was learn how to say no. I still struggle with this one but you have to tell yourself that you don’t owe anything to anyone. 

I had a friend who would use me to get her vape supplies. When I said, “no,” she would beg me and even offer me money to get it for her, even though I told her doing it made me uncomfortable. I eventually caved in for $20, but when I asked for the money she told me she spent it and never gave it to me. 

Not changing my schedule for others: 

If you are anything like me in addition to not having great boundaries you also have a huge case of FOMO. I would completely change my schedule and ignore school work and my mental health just so I could hang out with people. I’m a big planner, but if someone asked me to do something I would completely rearrange my day and drop the things I enjoy. I would also go out with my friends on nights where I had 4 a.m. work shifts because I didn’t want to be left out. I had to learn that if they are truly my friends they will work to fit in my schedule too and we could find a time that works for the both of us. 

Respecting my own mental health: 

This is probably my most recent boundary I have set up. I had a friend who was lying to me and manipulating me. She was going through some mental health struggles and I was there to help her ,but she would lie to me and cause me so much mental stress. I was crying everyday for about a two week span. I realized that I needed to fight for myself and put myself first, especially when she refused to seek the help she needed. So, I separated myself from the situation and I have been so much healthier since. 

Cutting out those who don’t respect your choices: 

I had an instance over the summer where I had a friend who was pressuring me to do drugs. I talked to her about how it made me feel and she denied pressuring me and continues to try to convince me to do drugs with her. Then, she started getting more risky with drugs herself. I eventually had a talk with her and said I wasn’t going to be friends with her anymore if she kept this behavior up. 

If someone isn’t respecting your choices then they truly aren’t your friend (unless your choices are harming yourself or others). 

These are just a few examples of boundaries I have recently learned to put up. My life has already changed so much from this and I recommend you start setting up boundaries for yourself too. If you struggle you can always go to those you love and trust in your life and they can help you set up boundaries so you can better your mental health.  

(she/her) Madison Thompson is a junior at The University of Missouri- Columbia and has direct admission into the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism School. She is an older sister and loves to read and write. In addition to Journalism, Madison loves creative writing. Madison has a self-published poetry book titled "The Journey". Her Poem Supermarket was a finalist in the 2019 KET writing contest.
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