Arianne Brown: Setting boundaries with yourself is just as important as setting boundaries with others

By learning to set boundaries with herself and others, Arianne Brown says she has reclaimed herself as someone worthy of being what she was meant to be.

By learning to set boundaries with herself and others, Arianne Brown says she has reclaimed herself as someone worthy of being what she was meant to be. (Arianne Brown)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Did you know you could set boundaries with yourself? No, I'm not talking about boundaries for yourself, but with yourself.

Believe it or not, boundaries, in general, are a new concept to me (and please stop laughing, because I know you are). I mean, what 39-year-old adult woman has never really set boundaries with other (adult) people? Well, me.

Boundaries are rules for engagement. Plain and simple, boundaries let others know how they can engage with you and how you will engage with them.

I don't know about you, but I just assumed that life was supposed to be endured and not lived. I believed that elephants were supposed to not only be in rooms but stampede over you repeatedly as you said, "Thank you, may I have another?"

Setting boundaries with others has been a way to regain my autonomy. And if you haven't tried boundary setting, whoa, I'm here to tell you that it. is. life. changing.

In fact, it is life-reclaiming.

That being said, I have learned that setting boundaries with others naturally comes with a need to self-reflect and understand yourself and the reasons why you need to set boundaries in the first place.

Unfortunately, and actually quite importantly, when you reflect inward, that's when the voices come — the voices that have been screaming inside of you for so long. The voices that you have been ignoring for so long, start shouting at you for attention.

At least that's what happened to me.

Once I started standing up for myself, the parts of me that never did it before wanted to have a voice. The 4-year-old, 9-year-old, 14-year-old, 18-year-old — and on and on it went all the way up to the present version of me — all decided that now was the time to be heard.

And just like all of the elephants that were present in my life before, I couldn't allow myself to be stampeded on — by myself.

So, I set boundaries. One by one, as each one of my selves came to me, I started to say things like, "Hey, you! I know you're there, and I know you need to be heard, but not right now. I will make a note right here in my journal about what it is you are telling me, and when I'm ready I will talk to you and we'll get this taken care of. But if I can't do it myself, I will find someone else who can help you."

Just as a parent should talk to a needy child, so should you talk to yourself.

As I've set boundaries with myself and others, I have reclaimed myself as someone worthy of being what I am meant to be — and that somebody is myself.

How has setting boundaries with yourself and others helped you in your life? Let us know in the comment section.

More from Arianne Brown:

About the Author: Arianne Brown

Arianne Brown is a mother of nine awesome children and a former collegiate runner who is blending those two worlds one written word at a time. To read more of her articles, visit Arianne's author page.

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