One of the biggest victories of feminism is reclaiming boundaries. Seeing them as something positive; nothing to be scared or ashamed of.
The way women are conditioned (from very early stages) to think being ‘likeable’ is among their most important life goals, is the root to a lot of the problems we face.
Everyone loves to be liked. That’s natural. We all crave acceptance and positive reinforcement from outside. Who doesn’t like to be complimented, admired, valued, needed?
But the question is, what happens when the way women are ‘expected to be’ in order to be liked comes at too high a price? It costs dearly in terms of energy, self-esteem, careers, better relationships, mental health?
What if being likeable at the price of keeping us quiet and smiling is just not worth it?
Men get to be admired and respected when they are assertive and powerful, when they are driven and have ambition, when they are competitive. Women are not. Instead, we are admired and respected for caring, giving and being selfless. We are praised to always put everyone's needs first.
In my opinion that means that we are liked the most when we exist the least as full individuals, when we don't demand anything at all.
When the tools we need to create a better life for ourselves are covered in shame, are we not less likely to use them?
Women with boundaries are labelled opinionated, difficult, crazy. Women that dare to say NO loud and clear, to say "I was speaking" or "that was my idea" or "it’s your turn now" pay a price. Nothing is free anyway, so my advice is to pay it with likability, it is uncomfortable but the cheapest in the long run.
I see boundaries now as an act of self-love. I uphold them with my head held high and make a point to fight the uneasiness in my stomach telling me out of habit to smile, to drop a joke, to give up and just say yes one more time. I set my boundaries acknowledging the growing pains of standing up for myself and for the things that matter.
Boundaries with your partner, with friends, with work, with those things that used to fill you and now drain you instead.
We reclaim boundaries to recharge our batteries, have time for listening to ourselves. Boundaries as a revolutionary and feminist act. Boundaries as the new trend, here to stay. Boundaries as the new black.