Confessions Of A College Graduate: Setting Boundaries

Why establishing and implementing boundaries is good for your health and relationships.

Boundary (n): a limit of a subject or sphere of activity.

Why is it important to have boundaries, my Google search lead me to Psychology Today, which suggests “healthy personal boundaries help to maintain a positive self-concept. It’s important because I can take better care of myself and not allow other people to define who I am.”

The concept of boundaries hit me during brunch with girlfriends, and then the plummet down the rabbit hole commenced. What does creating boundaries look like? What are my own and how can I relate them to others around me? Is it time for new boundaries or can I lighten up? Would I be perceived as the ultimate B-word if I stuck to said boundaries with discipline?

After waking up at the crack of dawn, I realized that I had been taught and implemented boundaries all my life. From “stop don’t touch me there” in elementary school to now using the Do Not Disturb function on my phone at set times of the day. Applicable to every aspect of our lives, setting and sticking to boundaries according to Psychology Today is beneficial for your health.

While in college like many of you, I learned a lot of lessons, some taking longer than others. Those lessons translated into new ideas and practices that changed my life. When it comes to setting boundaries, it took some time for me to feel like I wasn’t missing out. Getting over that FOMO helped alleviate certain social anxiety’s, develop a sense of self, and the peace I thoroughly enjoy today. It goes without saying that this process wasn’t completed overnight.

Perfect example, I recently started moving my phone across the room at night, so it wasn’t within arm’s reach. I have backslid on this boundary for years, but now that I have practiced it, it has allowed me to get uninterrupted sleep. On top of that, using the Do Not Disturb setting between 9 pm and 9 am has been a Godsend.

“What if someone needs me? Or there is a life and death situation? What if Beyoncé drops a surprise album and I’m late to the party?” First of all, I’m not listed as anyone’s ‘in case of emergency’ so we can talk during business hours. Second, Beyoncé’s surprise releases will be there when I wake up, so what am I missing? What about you, what are you missing? That ‘are you up’ text you’ve been waiting on? A call for a job application you’ve been praying for? I’m sure it’s not coming after 9 pm, get some sleep!

Granted that might not be relative to your life, but you get the picture. Whether it’s not inviting people to your home until you’re entirely comfortable, or at all for that matter. If it aids in your mental, physical, or emotional health, set those boundaries. Your boundaries could include only hearing about your friend’s issues once to preserve your mental health and time. Maybe it’s not having sex before marriage or not drinking alcohol during the week. For the recent college grads, one of the first boundaries you may need to set is letting your parents know that this is your life and you don’t have all the answers yet but you’re working on it… on your time.

Just like everyone else I have struggled with maintaining the boundaries I have set for myself. Some of my boundaries have been birthed from trauma. From losing loved ones to experiencing sexual assault. Other boundaries have derived from finally learning the lessons I could have learned the first time. Whatever your circumstance, your boundaries are valid. We may backslide, we may adjust; those boundaries were created with you in mind. We must respect them; we must implement them into our daily routine. We may lose connections and relationships; we may very well gain peace and find our tribe. It’s important to remember that our boundaries are valid. Your boundaries are for you!


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