Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Mental Health

Dear Past Me, I’m Sorry for Not Setting Boundaries

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

As a way of healing our emotional wounds, we must first talk with our past selves. Especially if we want to heal our inner child. Setting boundaries is an important part of this recovery process. Boundaries are like a set of rules, spoken or unspoken, that define what is acceptable to you. Setting boundaries is important because they are what makes us feel respected and safe around others. Healthy boundaries are essential because they also help with our mental health and our mood. Experts say that boundaries are crucial for maintaining interpersonal relationships and to have a more fulfilling life. In my journaling journey, I discovered that I resented a lot because I didn’t set boundaries on time. I realized that I was becoming a people pleaser and I was losing my essence as a person. Because of this, here’s an apology letter to my past self, that might resonate with you as well.

Dear Past Me,

I hope this message finds you well, and if not, I hope that in the future you find the strength you need. You’ll surely need it.

I want to start by apologizing for not setting boundaries from the start. I know you suffered a lot because of this, but I can explain.

We grew up thinking that being seen as loud or revolutionary was a sin. I know you wanted us to look innocent, perfect, a goody two-shoes, but this will take you nowhere, believe me. But, if something I’ve learned is that if something bothers you, please speak up. Don’t be afraid of speaking your mind or sharing the amazing ideas you have in that creative head of yours. Your ideas and whatever you have to say are equally valid. 

It’s okay to feel. Feelings are what makes you human and even though you think that expressing your emotions is wrong, it is not. I know that this is what we learned during childhood; crying is wrong, anger is a bad feeling, don’t be overjoyed, just be neutral. But know that you’re allowed to be as expressive as you like. Don’t suppress anything or you’ll become a ticking bomb. 

It’s okay to say no. This particularly will take us time to learn, but the sooner you learn how to do it, the better. Saying yes all the time is not healthy, and it will only lead you to being used. I know you want to be friends with everyone, but conditioned bonds don’t last. Saying yes to everything will bring many troubles: unpleasant relationships, toxic friendships, and many dramas. Learn that by saying yes to everything doesn’t make you seem kind, rather you look vulnerable, and not in a good way. Learning to say no will help you understand when others say “no” to you and this will save you many tears and fits. 

This other one comes hand in hand with learning to say no, but being alone is fine. You don’t HAVE to be with someone to feel like you are worth something. You are unique and special just by yourself; you can shine alone. Don’t feel forced to be around people you don’t like. You don’t have to be a people pleaser because many will take advantage of your kindness and you will suffer a lot. Acknowledge your own needs and learn how to communicate them, yes, asking for help is fine. I know you don’t want to bother anyone, but when you need help, you are allowed to ask for it. And by all means, stay away from toxic people. Cut them off with no mercy, you don’t need them, they need you and for all the wrong reasons.

Your intuition is not lying. I know your secret, you have that sixth sense that always rings in your ear when something doesn’t sit right with you. Pay attention to it. Most of the time it will be right. There are going to be evil people in your life and walking away on time will save you a lot of traumas. 

Also, setting boundaries with your family is not bad. You think that speaking your mind to mom when she does something hurtful is disrespectful, but it isn’t. Talk to her, even if she throws a mini tantrum, she will learn and understand. It’s not her fault. Remember that she was raised differently and her life wasn’t easy. Your parents only want the best for you, but sometimes they can’t see when they hurt you because there are certain things that are normal for them, and it is okay to teach them the ways of our generation.

Don’t mind others’ opinions. People pleasers tend to care too much about other people’s opinions. I am here to tell you that caring too much will make you insane. Whatever others think or talk about you, it’s only their problem. If you are sure and confident of what you are, don’t mind them. 

It is valid to not feel sexual desire and it is okay to voice it. All our life we have felt like an alien because while everyone enjoyed those matters, we didn’t. But I am here to tell you that it is okay. Maybe we passed through some traumas, maybe we just don’t like it. You can feel loved in other ways beyond physical intimacy. Your brain isn’t damaged, stop thinking that. And the most important part, don’t force yourself to like it for others. Say no and don’t feel bad about it, your body is only yours to decide. 

Last but not least, take your time. Don’t worry if you don’t go at the same pace as others, don’t hurry for anything or anyone. And please, take time to rest. Resting is not a waste of time; it actually helps you to continue. You are good enough in what you do, so please don’t overwork. Make your own decisions without fear. Only you know what’s best for you because only you know what your needs and goals are. Follow your dreams, because they are never too big nor too small. 

With love,

Future you <3

Astrid Carolina is a grad school student at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. She has a Bachelors Degree in Modern Languages and is currently doing her Masters in Translation. When she's not stressing out over doing her thesis, you can probably find her playing videogames or being crafty. Astrid is out there encouraging people to be themselves without fear!