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Dyslexia and Setting Boundaries

Those of us who have dyslexia tend to be burnt out, gifted, people pleasers with a constant feeling of never being good enough.

With all that acknowledged, we want to talk about setting boundaries within the context of being dyslexic.

"But, why Kati?"

Setting boundaries is challenging under normal circumstances, but when you have dyslexia, an individual has to overcome an added level of complication. Today we will discuss why you need to set boundaries, how to find yours, and some tips to help.

What are Boundaries:

Healthy boundaries are limits a person places to protect their mental, physical and emotional well-being. Not having healthy boundaries can leave a person feeling drained, with little energy, or even manipulated.

Boundaries can be around pretty much anything and anyone (even with yourself). We need boundaries as dyslexics so that we don't lose ourselves to things like work, harmful stereotypes, and the manipulation of others.

Why we Set Boundaries:

Creating healthy boundaries around your dyslexia takes time and practice. Don't give up; setting boundaries builds habits and pivots the way you think.

One of our missions is to help people with dyslexia create a healthy, sustainable relationship with themselves. Too often, dyslexia is seen as a limiter, even by those with it. We want to empower our community to fight the adverse side effects of dyslexia, and setting boundaries is one of the most important steps!

Examples of Boundaries You Can (and Should) Set:

Avoid being taken advantage of:

Your boss probably sees that you go above and beyond. They might see that you stay late and are committed to your company and job! Part of what they see (even if they don't know it) is you compensating for your dyslexia by giving your job extra attention. Some bosses see this "above and beyond" as an invitation to assign you "special projects."

This is where we set our boundaries. When our boss asks us (or tells us) to take on more work, that is our cue to politely say, "I currently don't have the bandwidth to take on another project. Would you like me to stop working on something and pick this up or can this wait till later in the year?". I hate saying "no" and found that this approach feels less aggressive and creates a dialogue with your boss about what you have going on.

Manage YOUR time better:

Stick with me here! Dyslexics struggle with time management (learn more HERE) and prioritization; it is a fact, not a dig on who we are as people! The side effects of dyslexia make it almost impossible for us to make time for us to do things we enjoy! I am willing to bet that the end of the day rolls around, and you are exhausted, burnt out, and ready for bed!

How do we set a boundary to do more of what we love? Honestly, with a lot of hard work and creating systems that provide us the best chance for success! Some practical tips, schedule time on your calendar to do whatever you want (go for a walk, doom scroll, make a fancy dinner). Another helpful tip would be to set your phone on do not disturb, so you don't get distracted by emails.

One thing that has really helped us is this question "If I don't finish this now, will anything bad happen?" A lot of times, we have found that the answer is no. When the answer is no, we put down the work and pivot to things that bring us joy!

How to Find your Boundary Needs:

Figuring out where you need to set your boundaries can be a struggle. When you have done something one way all your life, pivoting is hard!

A HUGE sign of struggling to set boundaries is burnout and exhaustion. Another way is to look back on your day and ask, "Is there anything bugging me still?"

An example for me was the way my boss and I interacted today. They asked me for an update on a project, and I got defensive (I didn't need to). When I boiled it down, my little attitude was not because my boss is a butthead but because I am overworked. And why am I overworked? I keep volunteering to work (I think every project will take 15 minutes). So I need to set boundaries around how much work I can take on and communicate them to my boss.

In summary, if something is bugging you, you might be struggling with a lack of boundaries.

Again we want to remind you that setting boundaries is not easy and takes time. Don't give up when you fail. Dyslexia has a lot of struggles, and setting boundaries can help stop them from compounding into big problems. You got this!

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