How many of us know what boundaries are, that we need to set some, but never follow through with setting them? Most of our hands are raised. Why do we stop here? What is holding us back? In this blog, I will discuss what boundaries are, common anxieties that come with setting healthy boundaries, and the benefits of doing so.
So, let’s get started, shall we?
Merriam-Webster defines a boundary as “something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent.” The word that sticks out most for me in that definition is “limit.” That is exactly what we are doing when we set a boundary with someone. We are saying I have limits on how I expect you to treat me or speak to me and I won’t take anything less. Sounds simple, right? Yes, it sounds simple but carrying it out and actually doing it is a different story. Let’s talk about why we get stuck.
Common Fears related to Setting Boundaries:
“I don’t want to be mean.”
“What if they stop liking me?”
“It’s not that big of a deal, I’m just being sensitive and dramatic.”
“I don’t want it to sound like I’m telling them what to do.”
“I’m just going to make our relationship more awkward.”
“What if they yell at me?”
“What if they don’t listen to me?”
“I’m just being selfish.”
Benefits of Setting Healthy Boundaries:
They are a form of self-care.
They honor your needs.
They create safety and protection.
They help build confidence and assertive skills.
They guide others to understand how they treat you and in turn, they know what to expect.
They help define roles in different relationships.
Knowing the benefits helps, however, sometimes our anxiety and fears about executing this can get the best of us. We also need to ask ourselves…what if I don’t set this boundary? What is the alternative? The alternative may be more damaging than our anxiety about setting the boundary. We may continue to be treated poorly, causing our resentment to build up with that person, and even having a negative impact on our mental health.
Let’s not allow our fears to get in the way of our growth. Click here to read about my blog called Fear of Healing where I talk more about feeling stuck.
Anytime I think about boundaries, I always think of my favorite Al-anon quote. I think it sums up boundaries perfectly. What do you think??
I hope this brief blog helps you realize the benefits of setting boundaries and that you are not alone. It is normal and understandable to have fears with setting these boundaries, especially if we have never done it before. But remember…We Can Do Hard Things!
The good news is that it’s never too late to learn. Stay tuned for my next blog where I talk about what boundaries look like, examples of some and a guide on how to set healthy boundaries.