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Setting boundaries are a sign of unconditional self love and self respect.

When was the last time you took inventory of the people in your life that make you feel depressed and drained? You know the people that are toxic to your mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health. These people can be your family, friends, or, even co-workers. As women it can be hard to set boundaries because we have been conditioned to be nice, warm, and  a team player. However, having boundaries is a practice in self love.

Nina Simone said, “ You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.” I took this quote to heart three years ago when I had to stop all contact with someone I knew I would spend the rest of my life with. This person crossed all types of boundaries in our relationship and I allowed it to persist because I was in love. It took me reaching rock bottom to finally cut off access to preserve what was left of myself and to grow into the woman I am today. It was not easy and it hurt like hell because we would speak several times a day. It was a major adjustment, but I got through it and so can you.

When I gave myself permission to love me unconditionally I started to set boundaries. I used journaling and therapy to help me decide what is a healthy boundary to me. I wrote those things down that I was willing to accept and the things I would not. I wrote about things that made me happy and about things that gave me anxiety. I had to use self reflection to understand my needs, wants, and desires. The effect was I realized that previously my happiness was predicated on someone else. Now my happiness is always totally up to me!

I want to tell you that it is time to take your power back and reclaim your time. You have to give yourself permission to set boundaries. Yes, at first, you may feel guilty because you have allowed the toxic behaviors to persist for so long. Understand that this is normal and totally okay to feel this way. You are still a good daughter, friend, sister; anyone who sees your growth as bad does not truly love you.

Feeling drained or taken advantage of by people who claim to love you is not healthy.

Setting boundaries is a process and takes time. In my Empowerment Journal Workbook I give activities and scripts on how to start setting boundaries and making it a part of your self care routine. One such script is:  My need for safety ( respect, consideration, love, etc.) isn’t met when you ___________________. Having a set of phrases to use when someone has disregarded your boundaries is important as well. Three phrases you can use to re-enforce your boundaries are:  

  1. Please do not speak to me like that. I really don’t like it  and it is hurtful.
  2. I am not obligated to justify myself to you. 
  3. I’ve asked you not to speak to me like that. I love you very much , but I am not going to let anyone speak to me like that. 

Setting boundaries is not an easy process and the people who have had access to you will still want the same access. You have to stand strong in your conviction to put your  mental, spiritual , emotional, and physical health first. Setting boundaries are a sign of unconditional love and respect for yourself.

Olesha Haskett’s superpower is empowering black women. She empowers black women to start a journey of self love, self discovery and divine femininity on their own terms. She challenge black women to celebrate who they are today! She is also a traveling boudoir photographer with a studio in the Washington D.C. metro area. Check out her website at

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