Hedgehog talisman - the importance of having boundaries

Hedgehog drawing pyrography log slice
I chose hedgehogs to represent the importance of healthy boundaries because they're spikey when they need to be but they're also caring too. I don't often get to see hedgehogs here, but where I used to live we had them and fed them. At certain times of the year I'd have the delight of seeing the mother coming up my garden path with all her babies in an orderly line behind her, teaching them where the food was.

Healthy boundaries in relationships are something that are essential to our wellbeing. It's easy to put politeness and wanting to help people before ourselves. One vital lesson I've taken from my years volunteering is self care isn't selfish. I can't care for others if I'm worn down or worn out myself. It's quite common in positions that are stressful, and dealing with highly emotional situations, that you have to agree to look after yourself properly. A large amount of money goes into training you and it's of no use if you end up unable to do the role.

It's an unfortunate fact of life that at some point in life you encounter difficult people; whether that's in family, workplace or elsewhere. These can be people you feel you can't say no to, those that want to take all the time, are passive/aggressive, emotionally manipulative, rude, draining and many more things. Everyone is fighting their own battles but you can't change people, and you can't save people, unless they want to effect some change themselves.

Two simple and powerful ways to start with boundaries are knowing you deserve to be respected in your interactions with others and using the word no. Being respected is such a fundamental thing but how many of us put up with things that make us feel bad or uncomfortable? Probably quite a lot of us. It's easier to deal with in friends, in families and workplaces it's more problematic. You can however choose to limit the amount of time you give to difficult family members.

A lot of people confuse assertiveness with being forceful, so find using the word no difficult. You can stand your ground in a quiet way though, and from someone who found it difficult at first herself I can tell you it gets easier, you just have to practice! It's perfectly possible to be firm and kind.

Setting boundaries is an expansive subject that I can't cover adequately here but I would encourage you to have a Google if you feel it's an issue for you. Like hedgehog we can be loving but also protect ourselves when we need to, allowing ourselves to grow and blossom.

Hedgehog illustration

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