This weekend, I “went out” for the first time. If you know me personally, you would know that this is a pretty uncommon occurrence for me; I tend to be a homebody. As a gigantic fan of drag culture and the TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race, I was stunned when one of the recent winners was coming to a town within 20 minutes of my place. But, honestly, after purchasing my tickets I felt an overwhelming rush of dread. Events like this can be difficult, especially when you aren’t accustomed to going out. Respecting your limits can be on the tough side, especially if you’re one who tends to be on the anxious side.
Last week I talked about more physical routes to self care, but it’s also super important to remember that self care can simply be acts of kindness that you show to yourself. For me, one big way to show myself some much needed love is understanding where to draw the line. It honestly can take a little bit of courage, but once you establish your own limits, you start to feel a ton more secure.
Respecting Your Limits Can Feel Selfish At First
Ah. As is common with pretty much all self care, you might feel guilty at first. For me, I felt like I was wasting my time. More specifically, I started to take time for myself when on vacations. My family frequents the Disney Parks, and which an anxiety disorder, sometimes the gigantic crowds, loud music, and constant visual and mental stimulation can leave me feeling a bit on the dead side.
I used to push myself and push myself to stay with my family, slap on the smile, and keep going, but I seriously wasn’t enjoying myself, like, at all. To make it worse, once my limits were pushed way past the point of no return, I would almost always have a panic attack which would leave me pretty much listless and needing a quiet space immediately. I forgot that this was supposed to be my vacation too, so spending the time in an enjoyable fashion should be on the top of the list.
I started to establish what I would do when I felt overwhelmed, and was vocal about my plans with the group I traveled with. This group pretty much was exclusively my family and a select few family friends, so they understood why I might need backup plans.
The first step you need to take is realizing that taking care of yourself DOES NOT make you selfish. You have to put yourself first, and when mental health is on the table, the more you take care, the more you can give to other people. I really love the saying about not being able to pour from an empty cup, and that’s exactly my sentiment with limitations and boundaries. When you set your boundaries, you thrive more and can then do more.
Respecting Your Limits Helps Others Respect Them Too
Back to the instance of the show I attended this last weekend, by being vocal about my limits, I was able to stay happy for the entirety of the event. I’m more vocal than most about anxiety (I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve at this point) and by sharing when I felt that I was at my limit, the other people who came with me were also able to respect those limits. I didn’t feel pushed to do anything out of my comfort zone, and knowing that I could leave if I needed to was enough comfort for me.
By letting other’s know when you are just about tapped out on energy, they can then start to process their own limits accordingly. When I was ready to go, my friend was as well, and we both felt relieved that we weren’t really pushing ourselves for the sake of the other person. If I didn’t speak up about feeling a bit spent, we both might have stayed longer than we liked for the sake of the other person.
Respecting Your Limits – But Not Being Limited By Them
Now, it might seem on the counter intuitive side to not be “limited” by your limits, but life exists outside your comfort zone. Understand how much you can handle, but do try to do new things, with that backup plan in mind. If I had just accepted that I didn’t want to go out because of the sounds, crowded spaces and possible anxiety, I would not have had such an amazing night out with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages. Plus, now I want to go to more shows because the crowd was so kind, supportive, and overall a good time.
Know where to stop, but allow those boundaries to integrate into new experiences. Your limits don’t need to remain the same forever; they’re meant to change and adapt to whatever makes you feel best. Mine have constantly and drastically changed over the years. If they had remained the same, I wouldn’t have grown as much as I have over the last couple years.
How do you respect the limits you set in your own life? Tips, tricks, thoughts or comments? Share them with me in the comment section below.
Have a fabulous Monday!