Proven Way to Joy #18: Setting Boundaries and Limits
For reasons unbeknownst, we are often our own worst enemies and most judgmental critics. We are kind to our family, our friends, and our animals, but are too often cruel to ourselves. We offer love, advice, friendship, and support to those in our lives, but fail to offer that same compassion inwardly. We hold onto our past mistakes and failures more than we praise our accomplishments and efforts. Those who have learned to love themselves have learned something invaluable.
John Lennon once said, “there are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and openhearted vision of people who embrace life.”
Setting personal boundaries and limits guard you against doing things that inhibit your happiness. The idea is to grant yourself the permission to treasure yourself. Hana Matt explains that, “boundaries allow you to adopt full ownership of your life. When you are your own best friend, you will build better boundaries and therefore create a fuller, healthier, and joy filled life. Boundaries protect you from unnecessary internal and external distress, and preserve you for the pursuit of a healthy life. They define what you give your time and energy to, and what you valve and hold precious. Set boundaries between yourself and your negative thoughts, activities, and things that aren’t in your best interest.
You have control over your own happiness, and it is rooted in self-acceptance and self-love. Treat yourself as if you were your own best friend. Build a positive relationship with that inner voice in your head. Maybe your inner voice is the one that has been telling you that you aren’t successful enough, smart enough, confident enough, skinny enough, pretty enough, or good enough. Why live a life at war with the closest person to you, yourself? It’s time for a peace treaty and an alliance!
Set the boundary within yourself to not let your ego-ideal (according to Freud, this is your self-proclaimed vision of how you think you ought to be) try and uphold what it thinks society wants it to be and accomplish in this life. Instead of working against each other, work together. When the id, the ego, and the superego can coexist peacefully, happiness becomes but a natural occurrence within.
As human beings, it is only natural that we have internal conflicts. However, it is how you choose to confront and deal with these conflicts that define us in the end. Confront yourself with love, acceptance, patience, and support. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend, your brother, your mother, or your chocolate Labrador.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” –Oscar Wilde