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When I was younger, I had zero personal boundaries.
I didn’t believe such a thing existed. You could say that I saw things through a child’s eyes: innocent and pure. There were no boundaries, no limits, no rules.
Living life with no stop signs eventually caused many problems. There was disappointment, heartbreak, hurt, pain, and blame—lots of blame.
I had seriously thought there was something wrong with people. How could they hurt someone who would go above and beyond to make them happy? But the problem was never about other people; it was about me.
I had thought that in order to gain someone’s respect and love, I should always be available and agreeable. I should always say yes. I should always tiptoe around their emotional issues. I should avoid looking like a bad person who isn’t caring or loving.
I was wrong.
If anything, I lost some people’s respect and love because I was too agreeable. The more I was available, the farther they went. Eventually, I was drained. I was hurt. I was alone. I was, most of all, baffled.
It took me many years of shame and unhappiness to finally realize that the one-sided relationships in my life were my fault. My endless love and kindness were an invitation for people to take advantage of me—not to love me.
And trust me, it wasn’t easy to admit to myself that with poor, personal boundaries people could walk in and out as they pleased. It wasn’t easy to admit that I was at the mercy of other people.
I’ve learned the hard way that I’m the only one who decides how I like to be treated.
People have hurt me because I have given them to power to let me down.
Don’t give them that power.
You need to know that those who truly love and respect you won’t be intimidated by your new boundaries. Those who don’t care won’t respect them (or you) anyway. So stop exhausting yourself trying to keep everyone around you happy.
We can be kind, nice, loving, and agreeable without losing ourselves in the process. Kindness that comes from a place of fear isn’t kindness after all; it’s a fear of abandonment. It’s a fear of being rejected.
When I’ve started working on my abandonment issues, my personal relationships have improved and I’ve become generally happier. The boundaries I have set have saved me endless years of unhappiness and pain. When those around me know what I expect of them and how they can treat me, they, too, become comfortable and happy.
Remember, your worthiness isn’t dependent on other people’s approval, but your happiness is sure as hell dependent on how many stop signs you put in your personal relationships.
Are you ready to feel more appreciated, loved, and worthy?
Here are 22 signs you may lack personal boundaries.
1. You don’t communicate your needs.
2. You feel manipulated or not loved enough.
3. You feel guilty saying no.
4. And you feel anxious saying yes—because people might let you down.
5. Speaking of which, you hate to let people down.
6. You avoid looking like a bad person.
7. You think you should be nice to everyone.
8. And, you are nice to everyone.
9. You get upset if people disappoint you.
10. You tend to blame others for your unhappiness.
11. You don’t feel satisfied in your personal relationships. There’s something that constantly feels missing or wrong.
12. You constantly feel drained—because you always bite off more than you can chew.
13. You struggle with decision making.
14. You’re generally not happy with yourself—or those around you.
15. You hurt yourself to make others happy.
16. You don’t speak up when your boundaries are violated.
17. You don’t stand up for yourself.
18. You might set firm, temporary boundaries when you get hurt.
19. You only feel worthy when you’re available or nice or agreeable.
20. You feel like a victim—most of the time.
21. You think you’re unlovable and unworthy.
22. You worry what other people think of you.