Over the past year and a half or so, I’ve been focused on building boundaries as an adult. This has not only given me more time to work on my writing, but it has saved my mental health.

There is a laptop on the table, and above it, are hands holding a notebook with a pen poised to write. The text says "Building Boundaries As an Adult Saved My Writing" and there is a watermark for MarisaMohi.com.

This blog has been around for a while now, and even longer when you think about all the old content that was deleted ages ago. One thing that runs through everything I’ve written here is the desire for creative space and to be left alone to do what I want to do.

I’ve finally figured out how to make that happen because I’m building boundaries as an adult.

I won’t bore you with too much backstory, but I will say this: I learned from a very young age that the worst thing a woman could do was to be high maintenance–that is, have any sort of emotion/preference/opinion, and that it was my responsibility to make sure everyone around me was happy.

It wasn’t stated in those terms, but those were the behaviors that were socialized into me.

As you can imagine, that turned me into a people pleaser that never told anyone how I felt lest it make them feel I was too much trouble. I had a lot of really unfulfilling friendships because of this. My romantic relationships usually involved me building up so much resentment of the other person because they couldn’t see how much I was doing for them in the way of people pleasing that I would break it off rather than tell them what was actually going on with me.

Suffice it to say it wasn’t healthy and it made it impossible for me to write because I spent all my time and energy doing shit I didn’t want to do for people who didn’t really even know me.

But that’s all changed, and I’m proud to say I have some really mature friendships.

Building Boundaries as an Adult

Building boundaries as an adult isn’t easy. In fact, I would say it’s harder than learning to build them young. But it’s so worth it.

I’m at a point now where I look back at past behavior and shudder. I was pretty freely giving of my time, especially for shit and people who didn’t matter. It’s weird to think I did that.

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As I keep working on making a life that I love with all the space for creative work, I’ve realized that I’m a better writer when I set boundaries. This is because I need time to work and I have to protect my very limited energy.

At their core, boundaries are the rules we set for ourselves and the rules for what we will accept from others in our relationships. I’ve drawn a visual representation of what I want my boundaries to look like in a notebook, complete with the types of people and behavior that I will allow around me.

You don’t have to do this, of course. You can work on building boundaries as an adult by thinking about what you would like your life and your relationships to look like, and creating boundaries from there.

Some examples of boundaries I’ve set lately are:

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These are just a few of the boundaries I’ve set lately, and honestly, they’re pretty easy to uphold, even if there has been some fallout. That’s the key to setting a boundary, by the way. State what you need for yourself in a calm, polite manner. The other person will react how they’re going to react, and that’s always on them.

How to Set Boundaries Politely

I’m of the mind that all boundaries are kind. They may not feel nice or polite, but how much of being polite or nice is just being fake?

I have realized that by not setting boundaries in the past, I wasn’t actually being present in my relationships. I was being fake as hell, and not giving people a chance to actually get to know me. Which, we can all probably agree is shitty.

Now that boundaries are a priority for me, I may seem rigid. But I’m actually being myself in my relationships, which means I’m being honest and open in a way I wasn’t before.

The cool thing about boundaries is that you don’t necessarily even have to communicate what the boundary is to another person. As long as you know what your boundaries are, they can guide your choices. So, when someone asks you to do something or exhibits a type of behavior, you can respond with your boundary in mind. Maybe that means you simply say no. Or, maybe you have to let them know that what they did wasn’t cool.

If they’re really your friend, they’re going to listen and respond thoughtfully. If they’re not, then fuck them.

You don’t need to be overly polite to people who don’t treat you the way you want to be treated.

Okay, now. Let’s talk about what setting these boundaries actually looks like.

Healthy Boundaries Examples

I’ve mentioned all the unhealthy boundaries in relationships I used to have and how it used up all my resources and prevented me from writing. (More on that in this post on crazymakers and energy pennies.) Now I have strong boundaries that help me preserve my energy.

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If you’re interested in taking back your energy and mental capacity, here are some examples of boundaries you can create in your life:

Whether you’re looking to set boundaries in romantic relationships, or just some boundaries with nosy relatives, these healthy boundaries will stop you from spending all your energy reserves where they aren’t needed.

What Boundaries Do You Need for Your Art?

The stronger your boundaries, the easier it is to have space to create. What boundaries do you need to give yourself more time and energy for your creative work? Are you worried it will cost you friends if you set boundaries?

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