As discussed earlier in the book, there are those with loose boundaries and there are those with rigid boundaries. There are also those who sway between the two, being overly strict with some boundaries and extremely loose and unchecked with others.
When setting boundaries, it’s also important to be flexible sometimes.
There are times when the answer is an unequivocal no. For instance, if someone asks you to do something that goes against your moral values.
Other times you may have set boundaries that have a little give to them. An example of this may be that you prefer that your children don’t eat candy, but you allow them to for special holidays.
You may find that it’s time to reevaluate some of your personal boundaries. Are you too strict with some, and too loose with others? During this time, it will also be beneficial to explore why you might struggle to set healthy boundaries. What are some of the main reasons that your boundaries aren’t what you want them to be?
Here you can read through some of the common reasons why you might have boundaries that are too weak or too strong. Think about which ones might apply to you, and how that could affect your life and relationships with others.
People with porous boundaries are often consumed with ensuring that everyone else’s needs are met.
Their main focus is pleasing others, and it would upset them to know that someone was disappointed or upset with them.
The need to please others supersedes the need for self-care.
People with low self-esteem may not feel that they have the right to set boundaries.
They may feel like their self-worth is so little that they can’t stand up for themselves and tell others no.
People who are naturally empathetic or sensitive often have a hard time blocking out other people’s needs. For these people, other people’s pain or needs can feel as real as their own, as though they, too, were experiencing the same problems.
● Empaths looking to develop healthy boundaries will have to work on taking breaks and actively shutting out other people’s feelings and practice focusing on their own.
Many people are taught from a young age to be nice to others. That means sharing toys, taking turns, and thinking about how other people feel. This is a critical part of childhood development and learning how to live in a community.
● Unfortunately, some adults feel that if they say no to someone that they’re no longer a nice person. This may fill them with shame and guilt, and they may feel that they’ve let others down.
● Fortunately, there are many ways to still help others and show that you care without saying yes every time someone asks you to do something.
They have a fear of confrontation. Some people become anxious or upset in the face of confrontation. They may find themselves agreeing to something simply because they can’t face the repercussions of saying no.
● People with this fear will benefit from learning that they aren’t responsible for someone else’s reaction. If you’re unable to help someone and it makes them angry, it isn’t your problem to fix. It’s their job to control and handle their own emotions.
People who are highly aware of the problems in the world coupled with workaholic tendencies may find themselves lacking proper boundaries.
● These individuals will sacrifice themselves to help those who are in need but will often push until they reach some kind of breaking point.
Another reason people may struggle to set healthy boundaries is that they compare themselves to others.
● Imagine for a moment an employee that spends all their time at the office, is first to volunteer for every assignment, and generally takes on all the extra workload.
● There may be a lot going on here, but just because someone else can take on the extra work doesn’t necessarily mean it can fit into your life.
○ You may have children at home, and they may be single.
○ They may require less of a personal life while you may feel a more fulfilling personal life is essential to your wellbeing.
○ You may need more time to reset before the next day than your fellow employee.
● Keep in mind that others may also struggle to set healthy boundaries, and what you’re seeing might eventually lead to burnout for that worker as well.
● The bottom line is your threshold and boundaries will not automatically match someone else’s. That doesn’t mean they can’t inspire you to be a better employee, but you can’t expect to be the same as everyone else. Your personal boundaries are unique to you.
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