We learn a lot of things growing up, how to walk, talk, do exams, make friends and so much more but the one thing that is never really emphasised is how to set boundaries. Boundaries are super important as there are so many instances that can make you feel uncomfortable and instead of just dealing with it, it’s vital that you learn the art of telling people not to do the thing.
It could be something as simple as hugging, not everyone enjoys being hugged, and sometimes you just need some personal space. Now, I can tell you first hand not everyone will respect this, and I’ve been guilty of this as a teenager (I regret it so much), but it’s important that you let someone know, use your words and really stand your ground.
I know first hand that in most cases, if I’m crying the worst thing (most) people can do is attempt any form of physical contact. Now, most people gain comfort from it, especially a simple gesture as holding someones hand when they’re sad, but I’m not that person. I have really bad knee jerk reaction to being touched when I’m upset as well and I know I need to work on it, but for the most part people in my life who would be in this situation are aware of it because I told them. It’s always weird to see someone you care about upset and you’re not able to do anything about it, but do you know what’s worse – touching them and causing them to scream.
That last point also happens a lot in general, I have a weird variation of ‘no go zones’ all across my body, and they’re not even normal ones. For the most part, people don’t tend to find them or notice it unless they witness my knee jerk screaming reaction first hand. Although it is funny to watch, that’s usually the moment I have to tell the person, usually a touchy feely person, to not do whatever they did to set me off. I’ve learnt that the akward conversation of telling them to politely never touch you, is better in the long run and involves a lot less screaming and running away on my side.
It might be awkward to set the boundaries but it’s also super important. Not everyone is going to know that they’re invading your personal space, or your personal boundaries and we can’t expect everyone to be psychic so let them know, have a productive conversation and honestly it’ll help you our a lot in the future.
Even though I used some of my own personal examples, there are loads of different ways of setting boundaries and it’s different for everyone. Sometimes it can be something as simple as telling someone no, and not being mentally or emotionally avalilable 24/7, or in the extreme of telling someone to stay away from you.
It’s not always as easy to have the talks, but it’s worth it most of the time.