Since we were born, we have been forming relationships with other people; Our family, our friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and romantic partners. Having, and building these kinds of relationships is important when it comes to growth, and becoming who we are. The people we allow into our lives, can and will say a lot about what you value as a person, and it’s important that these relationships are both mutually benefiting from the other. So, when we find ourselves asking if we are unhappy with someone, is it something they are doing? Or is it because we have failed to set boundaries within that relationship?
“How can I tell if I need to set healthy boundaries?”
I am glad you asked! I am going to list off a few questions/scenarios, and if you find yourself responding “Yes” to most of them, chances are, there is some room for improvement when it comes to the boundaries you have in place, or lack thereof, with other people.
Do you ever feel guilt/anxiety about upsetting someone else?
Do you say “Yes” when you want to say “No” and vice versa?
Do you have a hard time making decisions?
Do you often feel tired for no apparent reason?
Do you feel that you tend to give more than you receive?
Do you take responsibility for other people’s feelings?
Do you tend to overshare what most would consider private information about yourself with strangers? Conversely, do you find it harder to open up with those who are closer to you?
Do you find yourself attracting others who tend to control you? Or in relationships where mental, physical, or emotional abuse is present?
Do you frequently ask yourself, “Who am I?” or “What is my purpose in life?”
Be honest with yourself, and don’t worry too much if you kept responding yes to the above questions. The important thing is that you are seeking out information instead of living in denial. Acknowledging that you lack certain boundaries is a huge step, and it is a step that most people are too afraid to take.
When I first made the choice to start implementing boundaries in my relationships, I noticed that some relationships started to fade away. Do not let this deter you from keeping those boundaries in place; this is just a clear sign that this person was only in your life because you were always doing what you could to please them. The only people who are going to make you feel selfish about these changes, are the people who expected you to always come running when they wanted you to. Changing our behaviors, and what we have always been used to doing, will always be difficult at first. The more we are willing to stick with these changes, the easier they will become, and the quicker the people in your life will understand that certain boundaries were necessary for your health, and your well-being.
Be careful not to confuse forming boundaries with manipulation, ultimatums, and shutting people out. These can all be avoided when making these changes, and you should look at boundaries as the fence you put up around a house; except the house is you, and the fence is there to protect you when you need to be alone. Healthy boundaries do not mean isolation from the outside world; it simply means that you are forming healthy relationships with your “neighbors;” the people who respect your space when the gate to your fence is closed.
If we fail to set healthy boundaries in our life, we may never feel able to stand up for ourselves, make decisions, or know what it’s like to have healthy relationships. We may hold certain resentments towards other people, and passively aggressively respond to situations we ultimately put ourselves in. Those who are unable to ‘draw lines in the sand’ may always feel anxious, and/or depressed about never truly doing things for themselves. The relationship you have with yourself is very telling about the relationships you have with others, and it’s important that you recognize that these boundaries you set are necessary.
Take the time you need to address which areas in your life that will require the most change. Learn to say “No” when you want to say no, and stop feeling responsible for other people’s emotions. It is not your job to please everyone. It is only your job to know and understand, that each relationship in your life should be a healthy balance of give and take. It is about time that you get honest with yourself, and start making the necessary changes that will have the most positive impact on your life. You do not need to defend or explain your reasoning for wanting to make these changes. The people who were meant to be in your life will understand. Your fear of hurting someone else’s feelings when it comes to setting boundaries is a good place for you to start. Remember, there is a reason for why houses have fences, and it is more than okay to put a fence between you and your relationships.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.