In our society, we are often told to push ourselves, to work harder, to avoid conflict, and to be polite at all costs. Usually, this comes at the expense of our own wellbeing.
I grew up in the world of competitive gymnastics. My body deeply remembers the fear, the pain and the mental distress of that environment. I remember being told to do another one, and another one, and another one. To push through the pain. To stretch deeper. To suck it up. All for the sake of becoming “the best.”
In that environment, I was constantly pushed past my limits – physical, mental and emotional limits alike. I was conditioned to do so. But this constant disrespect of my limits only drove me to resent the thing I once loved. I loved gymnastics so much, but I hated the suffering I endured. It was a harmful and destructive environment, and in order to protect myself, I had to take the difficult but courageous step to leave it.
Ultimately, there lies the importance of loving our limits: loving our limits allows us to keep the things, activities and people that we care about in our lives without resentment.
Our limits are there to protect us, at the end of the day. When we are able to identify our limits, we can set boundaries around them.
What is a boundary? A boundary is like a fence we build that separates the acceptable from the unacceptable. Your boundaries are your responsibility, meaning that they are not rules you can impose and enforce.
Imagine yourself as a house. Your boundary is your fence. Good neighbours will see your fence and stay off your property. But, if they really wanted to, they could easily climb over it. The fence itself cannot control your neighbours’ actions.
Whether it is with others, with your environment, or with yourself, setting clear boundaries is an essential step to building, deepening, and maintaining your relationships. Ultimately, setting boundaries is a sign of trust – I trust you enough to tell you where my limits are, and I trust you will respect them.
Boundaries can take many forms. They can be used to protect us physically, emotionally, mentally and energetically. Here are some examples:
Physical boundary: You ask that someone knock before entering your room.
Emotional boundary: You communicate to your partner that yelling during an argument hurts you, and that you will not accept it.
Mental boundary: You refuse to engage in gossip or negative talk about others.
Energetic boundary: You limit your time spent with someone who drains your energy and makes you feel exhausted.
This February, advocate for your needs by not just identifying your limits, but respecting them. Set boundaries that will encourage the positive growth of your physical, emotional, mental and energetic wellbeing, and that will bring you closer to those you care about. Remember that your limits are part of who you are; to love your limits is to love yourself.
Own your energy,