Last Updated on August 4, 2022
It’s pretty hard to set intricate boundaries if you’re holding many titles as a woman. You’re a person, a mom, a wife, and a worker in some company. Mostly, you give in and pour into these roles with all your heart, but it leaves you deprived instead of fulfilled. Now, you start feeling lonely and resentful as you try to care for everyone elsewhere, but who’s taking care of you?
One of the most important things to understand is this – as much as you are a wife and mom, you’re also an individual who has her values and beliefs. To be a wholesome, happy individual, you’ll need to establish healthy boundaries to have healthy relationships. How do you do that without feeling like you’re betraying people close to you? Is setting boundaries selfish?
Well, there’s a step-by-step guide that’ll help you effectively, but before getting started on how to set healthy boundaries, let’s understand first what boundaries are and why they are essential.
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What are Boundaries, and Why are they Important?
A boundary is a space that separates you and other people. Think of it as an imaginary line that separates your feelings, responsibilities, and needs. It shows where you begin and where other people end.
You have to create clear-cut boundaries in your own life to protect and take care of yourself mentally. It tells
other people, even your close inner circle, how they should treat you. They show what is acceptable and what isn’t. If you don’t have boundaries, it leaves you vulnerable as people can easily take advantage of you.
Did you know healthy boundaries can establish your identity? Personal boundaries help define your individuality. It indicates what you will and will not hold yourself responsible for. It can either be physical or emotional, for instance, drawing a physical line of not coming in contact with certain individuals.
Poor boundaries can lead to anger, resentment, and burnout. It’s all part of finding the healthy balance in your life, and it spills over into personal, business, and family relationships.
What are you waiting for? Set those boundaries now!
Why are Boundaries so Hard to Set?
Setting boundaries is not a walk in the park. If it were, everybody would have them. Most women who’ve tried it say the process feels like you’re betraying the mantle of a given relationship. As a woman, you’ll put others’ needs first before your own as you’re naturally a giver. You easily take the high road to keep the peace, but this said road usually leaves you disappointed and somewhat resentful.
You console yourself, saying next time, you’ll do better, but when that same situation presents itself, you’ll be in the same boat again. Hey, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Setting boundaries is hard. It makes you challenge your deep-held notion and contribution to a particular relationship. This is uncomfortable since you don’t want to let your friends, colleagues, and family down.
It can create riffles that disrupt the peace and harmony of a relationship that you’ve been fostering for quite a while. However, healthy boundaries have to be drawn for safety and self-care needs.
Is Setting Boundaries Selfish?
There are instances where boundaries can look selfish. Boundaries make you put your needs first before others, which sound selfish. It allows you to prioritize your needs even when others’ needs may be ignored. It can be a gray area between upholding boundaries and being borderline selfish.
You could become selfish by trying to use your boundaries as an excuse to cover up being available for others. You’re constantly upholding your pleasure and prioritizing yourself at the expense of others, yes? You’re right; this, too, is selfishness. For example, you do the bare minimum when collaborating with other team members at work.
When asked, you easily throw the word boundaries around. Boundaries are also problematic when you use them to control others. For example, telling your partner who you’d like to call you often, ”if you’re a good partner, you’ll call, but you don’t, so that means you’re bad.”
Other times, it may seem like you’re being selfish. It might seem that the best response while fostering boundaries is “no,” but in reality, it’s not. Boundaries offer a space or freedom to give an authentic “yes.“ Go back to a scenario where you were compelled to say “yes,” but you wanted to say “no.” How did you feel internally? Not Good!
Yes, you want to be valued and be seen as a reliable person, but, there’s no point in keeping everybody happy at your own expense. Boundaries take care of you! If communicated with love and understanding, the other party will surely uphold them.
You deserve developing healthy relationships that accept and respect your boundaries. It is an essential component of self care, my friend.
How to Start Setting Healthy Boundaries without Being Selfish
You know why it’s important to set boundaries in any relationship by now. How do you start setting these boundaries? With this step-by-step guide, you can easily set them without being selfish.
1. Identify Boundaries
The first part of boundary setting is identifying existing boundaries and those lacking. For example, you may have healthy boundaries with your spouse but don’t have clear boundaries with your co-workers and friends.
At this point, you’ll decide what type of boundaries you need to set for the said relationships. It’s essential to be clear about your expectations. Spend time figuring out what you need before taking action.
2. Why Do I Need Boundaries?
It’s essential to understand why you need to set boundaries. The reasons need to be tangible as they will be motivation for setting and upholding your boundaries. Plus, boundaries push you out of your comfort zone; you’ll need a good enough reason that’ll allow you to keep following your boundaries.
3. Be Straight Forward
The best approach in setting boundaries is being assertive and straightforward. Yes, you don’t want to create conflict or hurt somebody’s feelings, but the only way to not do that is being direct.
Say what you mean and stand your ground.
4. No Long Explanations or Apologies
Try not to over-explain the situation. It undermines your authority, and it somewhat leaves you looking like you’re doing something wrong, which isn’t the case—leading you to apologize to the person, which was not intended.
5. Use a Polite and Calm Tone
You don’t have to be aggressive about the whole situation. Empathy will go a long way when making a person understand your needs. Keep it together, don’t start arguing with them. You want your needs heard.
Yelling, being condescending, or using sarcasm will make the other party defensive, which will sway both of you from the real issue here- your boundaries.
6. Begin with Tighter Boundaries
It’s easier to break a tight boundary than to tighten up loose boundaries. For example, you meet a new friend. You want your new friend to have the best impression of you, and you, therefore, give in to ideological or things you don’t normally do.
After you become friends, you want to revert to saying that you can’t do these things you’ve already done would be hard.
7. Speak Early When There are Boundaries Violations
A minor issue is solvable. Please don’t wait until someone has violated your boundaries a couple of times to start addressing it. Sometimes people honestly don’t know you have such boundaries in place.
When you talk to them the minute they violate your boundary, they’ll understand and wouldn’t want to do it again.
8. Please Don’t Make it Personal
When trying to set boundaries, don’t let them become personal. For example, Maggie and Gina are co-workers. Maggie has car trouble and needs a ride home. She asks Gina for help, and she obliges. The only problem is that Gina likes to go home straight away after work, but Maggie loves to chit-chat a bit with the rest of other co-workers.
After three days of Gina helping Maggie, she lost it, blaming Maggie for always having her way. If Gina had told Maggie about her not wanting to wait around from the start, this could have been avoided. She could have told Maggie she was willing to help but could only wait for five minutes. If she can’t agree to that, she can get help somehow.
9. Have a Support System
Setting and enforcing boundaries can take a toll on you. It brings tons of questions, confusion, and self-doubt as you work your way toward a healthy confidence in your decisions.
It would be best if you had people in your corner such as a family member or close friends, who could give you support during this time. Their support will encourage you to trust your instinct and push you to meet your goals.
10. Trust your Gut
Being in tune with your inner self is essential. Slow down to gather yourself. What do you feel about the situation?
If making a certain boundary feels wrong, make a change. If it’s telling you it’s the right thing to do, continue enforcing your boundaries.
Final Words: Is Setting Boundaries Selfish?
Boundaries are not just good for you but everyone around you. It’s essential to set healthy boundaries and maintain them.
Remember to not think of it as betraying a relationship; it’s a means that gives you more life and energy to sustain healthy relationships. With the steps above, you’re likely to be your better you.