By Nur Afiqah Bte Mohd Azman
How to set personal boundaries to protect yourself from emotional pain?
Emotional pain can hurt our self-esteem badly until you feel like you are bleeding inside. You alone and not anyone else can feel this invisible wound. So how important it is to give healing to emotional wounds before it intensifies bigger? In normal cases, you would need mental health professionals to help you to navigate through the emotional pain.
It can be quite surprising that our emotional pain is actually equivalent to the physical pain. According to research, the same part of the brain is activated when you get an emotional pain like how you would get a physical cut on your wrist.
The more emotional pain you hold on to, the high likely you will sustain a mental illness that needs time to heal and recover from. Having a mental illness is like having cancer, diabetes, heart problems and the list goes on.
We must not underestimate mental illness as a bout of fever or a bout of flu that can be cured within a week. That is totally impossible. For mental illness, the span of recovery is unique for different people. So, we have no right to judge someone who takes 20 years to recover. You just have no right to judge.
Before we digress, let’s take a look on our main topic called setting personal boundaries.
Setting personal boundaries is the most important aspect of recovery.
We need to put boundaries because we tend to want to meet people’s expectations in order to be accepted by the society. We tend to want to please people.
When in fact, we need to put our needs into perspective. This is not to say that we need not care about others. Of course, we need to care for others as well but to a certain respectable level that we are capable of.
For example, if you are being nagged by someone to do a list of things without discussing first whether you are okay with it, then start to set boundaries with that someone. Tell yourself that yes I respect the person but at the same time I know I’m not in position to please him or her with the to do list. I acknowledge that I am uncomfortable with the way that someone is releasing the expectations that are beyond my capability. As you acknowledge it, you are actually creating an invisible boundary that will protect you from being hurt with a deep emotional pain.
We own that self-respect and we own the same respect for others within our means. So you will be aware of what to listen for and pick up from when having a conversation with someone. We learnt to filter and be assertive. Also, to stay away when the person is going against our boundary. Or speak up for ourselves. Our inner being deserves self respect so we need to speak up because you have the responsibility to speak on behalf of your inner self.
Also, setting boundaries means to know what kind of information to share or not to share with someone. If that someone likes to gossip about you and step you down, obviously you don’t share confidential information with the person.
And another thing to note, we must be clear about this. We cannot force conversations, friendships and ideas on someone. It is what it is. We just got to accept that. If we truly respect the boundary, stay within the boundary.
Once we accept that, our life becomes easier to navigate through.
You know yourself better than anyone else. So you have the right to protect yourself. At the same time, we continue to respond kindly to others, as we are kind to our self.