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Love and Boundaries

Today is The American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day, to raise awareness about women’s heart health. While we wear red and aim to live a healthier lifestyle, we also need to take care of our emotional hearts. 

In this month of love, are we remembering to set healthy boundaries? It’s difficult when loved ones and friends need us. It’s difficult in a time when everyone is struggling through a worldwide pandemic. We give and give, often feeling depleted the minute we wake up each morning.

Let’s be kind to our hearts and set some boundaries this month with a few tips to keep in mind:

  • No can be one of the kindest words we say. No means you are making space for yourself, allowing your depleted energy to refill. No means that you prioritize your wellbeing.
  • Saying no to a task or an intimate act models true self-care to the other person. 
  • No can be followed by affirmations. “No, I can’t run that errand with you, but I would like to spend time with you another day when I have more energy. I really do enjoy being around you.”
  • Some boundaries can be temporary. You can stay off of social media for a day or two to reconnect with your body and the natural world, then go back to your accounts when you are ready.
  • Some boundaries feel wrong, but that is often because we are not taught to value ourselves. If you need to cut toxic behaviors or relationships out of your life, remind yourself that you are valued and loved. Other people’s happiness is not your responsibility.
  • You deserve to take a break when you need it. If the dishes don’t get done, or if the oil change has to wait a day, it won’t be the end of the world. 
  • Love doesn’t mean you say yes to everything. You can love someone and also have physical and emotional boundaries.
  • Endings are often beginnings. Ending a toxic relationship, or ending a commitment to something that no longer serves you, makes space in your life for something greater. 

Remember, you need to fill your own cup before you help others. Try to love yourself a little more each time you see red this month. It’s good for your heart and good for the people you love.

For more information on healthy boundaries, please see How to Create Healthy Boundaries, from the University of Kentucky.

 


Written by Kristin Jones, PhD, EdM, Outreach Supervisor.

ZCenter aims to end sexual violence, mobilize and educate the public, and support survivors of sexual assault. Our blog addresses issues related to ending oppression and violence, since all oppression and violence are intersectional with sexual violence. All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email info@zcenter.org.

 

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