Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Boundaries: A reflection on standing up for yourself

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 UPRM chapter.

I think we’ve all experienced the complexities of being human and the challenges that may arise when we decide to make our well-being a priority.

A concept that’s been considered insightful in the past years within the mental health field, is having boundaries. However, although this is quite a popular term, most people struggle to stand firm on what establishing boundaries entails. 

The American Psychological Association, for instance, refers to boundaries as: “a psychological demarcation that protects the integrity of an individual or group or that helps the person or group set realistic limits on participation in a relationship or activity.” 

In other words, boundaries can be defined as decisions, decisions that we have the choice of making when it comes to our well-being. 

Boundaries can be established in both professional and personal life dynamics. We all have the right to choose our emotional stability above any situation or individual.

I think, we’ve known first hand how difficult it is to establish healthy boundaries when presented with a difficult situation.

If we’re not careful, our emotions can easily cloud our logic, making it feel like our mind and heart are in a tug of war. 

Before you think you’re going crazy when making a decision, understand that it’s completely normal to feel torn between opposing ideas. In fact, this concept is pretty common in the Psychology field, and it’s known as cognitive dissonance. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines cognitive dissonance as: “psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously.” Although this is a completely common state of mind, this can leave us feeling stuck and hopeless about defining what’s best for our well-being.

What can we do about it?

For starters, we need to truly reflect on identifying our boundaries according to what we want for ourselves. It’s no surprise that we all have different views on what we are willing to accept or tolerate. This is why it’s extremely important to have boundaries that align with personal morals and standards. Some examples of this may be: Do you value honesty? Are you willing to tolerate disrespect in order to “keep the peace” within a relationship?, etc.

Once we have a clear definition on what we are unwilling to negotiate or tolerate, we are able to make clear decisions, establishing what needs to be set in place. In some cases, this may mean having a mature conversation with someone and presenting the requirements you have in order for them to remain in your life. According to how people react you’ll know in your heart the truth within the connection and if it’s genuine or not. When it comes to extreme cases of blatant disconsideration and cruelty, the healthiest thing that you can do is to simply remove yourself from the situation without a final conversation. It’s important to note that although many people say that communication is key, silence can be powerful when you feel that you’ve had enough. My number one tip would be practicing discernment because at the end of the day only you know in your heart who and what is genuinely good for you. Intuition rarely ever lets anyone down, but self-doubt does. Don’t doubt yourself!

And finally, know that you deserve the utmost respect, love and consideration. Never tolerate anything below this, whether we are referring to a draining job, an unreliable friend, a toxic family member or an abusive partner. Any situation or individual that robs you of your mental, emotional and/or physical well-being will never be worth losing yourself for. There are countless human beings and an infinite amount of opportunities that will embrace you with open arms without ever needing you to compromise your essence nor your self-love. I promise you that true joy resides in only accepting what sparks your soul, not what always burns it.

Sofía Isabel Valentín Díaz is a staff writer for Her Campus in the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez chapter. At the moment, she is pursuing a career in Psychology and aspires to become a Clinical Psychologist while also earning a Master’s Degree in Communications with a Minor in Journalism. Writing is one of her many passions in life and she is determined to continue sharing a part of her heart and mind to all of her readers one article at a time.