If you’re at all like me, you read the words “Healthy Boundaries” and cringe. Healthy Boundaries may as well translate into:
WARNING: REJECTION & HURT FEELINGS AHEAD > > > >
Why do some of us struggle so much with boundaries? If you were to consult the multitude of online personality tests I’ve taken, you might come to your own conclusion about why I struggle. If you look at my Strengthfinder results, you may think it’s because Empathy is the first theme of my strengths. If Enneagram interests you, then you may think It could be because I’m a 9, and therefore a peacemaker. Perhaps it’s just the golden retriever in me, also another personality type. It may also be because I’m a recovering people-pleaser. Any way you look at it, boundaries aren’t my JAM. At first glance, it may seem like I am the last one qualified to write about boundaries. Well, I would argue that someone who has had to dissect boundaries to understand their importance may have a perspective worth hearing out. So here I go..
My old way of thinking once had me believing that setting personal boundaries isolated me from others. That looks like the thought of a silly human when I look at it in writing. It’s true, though. I used to believe that asking for what I want or need from others would make me seem needy.
Some of us make it our responsibility to make sure the people closest to us are comfortable and content. When that isn’t possible, we experience anxiety over how their unhappiness will affect our relationship with them. We draw a line from how they are feeling—–> to how they feel about us——> and even to ——> how we feel about ourselves.
One day, a dear friend asked me a question, “I’m just curious,” she said. “Why do you put everyone in your life on a pedestal? I mean, you seem to believe that what they want or need is more important than what you want or need?” Hard as that was to hear, I’m thankful for friends who love me enough to shoot straight with me. And so, the search for what healthy relationship boundaries looks like began.
Here are three things I have learned:
- “Setting boundaries is an act of love towards yourself and an act of respect towards others” -@lisaoliveratherapy. Boundaries create security. When I know what to expect from you, and you know what to expect from me, we avoid anger and resentment built from unmet expectations.
- “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” Brene Brown. Boundaries help you get in tune with your inner truth. It separates the wants and needs of others from your own wants and needs.
- Boundaries mean accepting responsibility for ourselves and letting others accept responsibility for themselves. We should not be trying to take responsibility for them.
We are creatures of comfort. The idea of setting healthy boundaries can be a little off-putting, especially if you know that these new boundaries will be met with resistance. Stay the course, push through the hard moments with calmness and clarity. It will be worth it.
If you are interested in learning more about boundaries, check out the following resources:
Boundaries with Brene Brown – https://vimeo.com/274228723
TEDx Talks – Good Boundaries Free You – Sarri Gilman https://youtu.be/rtsHUeKnkC8
How to Draw Boundaries as an Empath or a Codependent – Terri Cole https://youtu.be/_y7eY6WqSC4
7 Tips to Create Healthy Boundaries with Others – Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-flux/201511/7-tips-create-healthy-boundaries-others
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life – Henry Cloud https://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-When-Take-Control-Your/dp/0310247454