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Why you have No Boundaries and How to Address It

Setting and sticking to boundaries might be the pinnacle of practicing self-care.

But reaching the summit is way easier said than done!  Even with the best intentions you may find yourself struggling to stake out those protective perimeters.

Just the mere topic of boundaries can be overwhelming – when to recognize the need for them, what type or style of boundary to have, how to set them, how to stick to them and of course, how to deal with people who unfortunately do not respect those boundaries.  The even worse news?  Each one of those steps can bring the opportunity for an excuse not to move forward. Sounds pretty daunting but don’t throw in the towel just yet.

Like so many other things in life, being able to acknowledge what is holding you back can ironically serve as the ultimate catalyst for moving you forward.  You must know what your barriers are before you can remove them.  Otherwise, well, you’ll just keep blindly hitting them over and over again like a wind up doll walking into the wall…and nothing changes.  How frustrating!

So what barriers keep you from having boundaries?

Here are some common challenges to having boundaries that may resonate with you…

  1. Fear of what others may think of you – What if people think I’m not pulling my weight? If I decline the invite, what if I’m perceived as no fun or disengaged? What if people think I’m rude?
  2. Concern that you are letting others down – What if people think I don’t care about them?
  3. Avoidance of conflict – What if setting a boundary causes an unpleasant response?  I’d rather just allow the behavior to continue, or do the task myself, to keep the peace.  Or, I’m flat out too scared to stand up for myself.
  4. Need for perfection – No one can do it as good as me and I’ll just end up doing it anyway.
  5. It’s too difficult – It’s easier to spend my energy doing the task, or allowing the behavior, than to figure out how to say no or create a limitation.
  6. Worry that others will see you as selfish – What if they perceive me as believing my time is more valuable than theirs?  

Which reasons do you identify with?  What other barriers come up for you?

Once you have a clear understanding of what is holding you back, it becomes easier to address and overcome the barrier’s existence.  Barriers are found naturally in almost any process – when you remove them, growth and progress are allowed.  Your obstacles are just stand in’s for limiting beliefs.  You are choosing to believe those reasons listed above.  Once you stop believing them, or giving them so much significance and power, they become easier to remove. 

What steps can you take to challenge those beliefs? 

For instance, if you fear boundary setting will spur conflict then challenge that catastrophic way of thinking.  What is the worst case scenario that could result?  And what’s the likelihood of that actually happening?  Then focus on the benefits and positives boundary setting will bring to you.  It takes practice, but continuing to challenge your barriers and limiting beliefs will ultimately lead to a shift in perspective and get you moving to that next step of creating healthy boundaries!