what is it and how can it help set boundaries?

Healthy selfishness encourages healthy boundaries

Millennials may have mastered the art of healthy selfishness.

Nearly 83 per cent of millennials report having good or excellent health — a statistic attributed to taking mental health days and implementing self-care. Of course, this level of contentment means millennials have also learned how to set healthy boundaries.

When someone asks you to do something, you probably respond with a resounding “yes” almost always. Yet, constantly agreeing to show up for others may cause mental, emotional and physical fatigue.

Boundaries allow you to concentrate on yourself. For example, if your schedule has bogged you down, declining invitations to various social engagements will give you time to rest and recharge. That way, you can also reserve some of your energy for the people closest to you.

You might not particularly enjoy setting boundaries — perhaps you’ve tried before and were met with adverse reactions and opinions. That’s because some people falsely interpret boundaries as acts of aggression. Really, they just need some time to come to terms with the fact that you’re advocating your needs.

You can avoid confrontation by using “I” statements — for example, try the following sentences:

  • I want to produce my best work, so I can’t take on another task right now.
  • I’d like to take a break to process my thoughts better.
  • I feel exhausted from my busy schedule and won’t be able to make it to your party.
  • I want to be honest — I felt hurt and embarrassed when you commented on my appearance.
  • I know you want to discuss [topic], but I feel uncomfortable having this conversation.
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As author and researcher Brené Brown said, setting boundaries is “about having the courage to love ourselves” – even if there’s a chance we’ll upset others.

It’s crucial that you realise you deserve to prioritise your needs. Never feel guilty or ashamed for practising healthy selfishness and setting boundaries to protect your wellbeing.