March 4, 2024

10 Signs You Need to Build Better Boundaries.


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“I didn’t want to, yet I did it.”

“What made you say yes?”

“I just can’t say no I guess.”

And that’s something so many of us need to learn to do: say no when we genuinely don’t want to say yes.

The reason we’re afraid to use this two-letter word in various forms to set boundaries is because it carries so much weight, doesn’t it? The weight of our anxieties, fears, and insecurities. It also runs the risk of exposing relationships and reality for what it really is instead of what we imagine or would like it to be.

So many reservations come to mind when we think of setting a boundary such as:

1. Fear of conflict: When we set a boundary, it comes with the possibility of conflict and that can be pretty difficult for a lot of us to handle because conflict in itself brings up so many difficult thoughts and emotions.

2. Fear of being rejected and abandoned: “What if I say no or don’t comply and they reject or leave me?” That’s a question so many of us are afraid to even think about let alone face.

3. Fear of disappointing someone: It’s certainly not a good feeling when you see the disappointment in someone’s eyes because of your decision to not go along or comply with them.

4. Fear of being judged as selfish: this one needs no explanation!

Even though setting boundaries can be daunting, it is, at times, the most important thing you can do for yourself because that’s how you learn to protect your peace and value yourself. Sadly, we are so conditioned to believe that setting a boundary is the sure-shot way to becoming a social outcast that we aren’t able to take that step when we so need to!

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” ~ Brené Brown

Most of us also think that boundaries are to keep people out of our lives. Well, that could be one way of looking at if you really don’t want someone’s presence in your life. However, the idea of setting boundaries is to keep yourself safe and protected from people, events, and situations that drain you out and don’t let you focus on yourself. It brings home the idea that your time and energy are just as important as other people’s and you need to have your ways to replenish your cup because when you keep giving and complying, it does leave you burnt out and empty.

“Setting boundaries is not about keeping people away, rather it’s a powerful act of self-care.” ~ Michelle Maros

So how do you know that you need to start setting better boundaries? Here are some ways that can help you to figure out:

1. You really struggle to say no. Saying no is a rare or non-occurrence in your life. While this may make you a really approachable and easy person to be with, it leaves you feeling exhausted, irritated, frustrated, and annoyed.

2. Your plate is always full and you’re juggling multiple plates at the same time! This often leads you to have a really long to-do list, but you end up doing nothing.

3. You constantly feel that you don’t have time for yourself because you’re too busy being there for everyone else.

4. You over-apologise and often think that everything is your fault.

5. You complain about a person or situation a lot, which tells you about all the thousand ways in which you are enabling a person’s behaviour or not being able to shield yourself from it.

6. You experience a lot of irritation, frustration, and anger, and sometimes even at the smallest of things.

7. You feel tired and exhausted from all this doing and giving.

8. You’re constantly blaming others for how you feel and that’s because you don’t have enough or effective boundaries to safeguard yourself from their impact.

9. You tend to feel helpless and powerless in most or specific situations and end up in a cycle of self-criticism, judgement, and blame.

10. You resort to quick fixes like binge eating, watching something, smoking, throwing yourself into an activity to try and deal with your stress or you end up isolating yourself.

It’s good to be there for people and do things for them, but if it’s costing you your mental, emotional, and physical health then you really do need to ask yourself: “Is it worth it?”

At the end of the day, just saying no isn’t enough. You need to be able to act on the boundaries you’ve set so that not only can you learn to respect, value, and conserve your energy from a place of love and understanding for yourself, you also teach others to do the same.

The fact is that boundaries also tell you who your people are because those who are will understand and respect your space, decisions, and choices. Those who don’t aren’t worth your while anyway and life is much better with the people who show up and support you in ways that make you feel seen, heard, and validated.

“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom.” ~ Dr. Henry Cloud


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