When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing the behaviour or a choice. – Brené Brown
Some powerful words from Brené Brown and how true that when we fail to address boundaries in relationships, it seeps out in other ways. Ways you wouldn’t choose and can struggle to come back from.
Boundaries help relationships become stronger, help us get our needs met and build self-esteem. A lack of boundaries has the opposite effect and impacts who were are and what we can become.
It’s fair to say I learnt about boundaries late in life, I had no idea what my boundaries were or that my boundaries stopped me from finding happiness in relationships both intimate and otherwise. My boundaries were affected by residual difficulties from the past.
Often we have unmet needs from the past. As humans, we all have basic needs. We want to feel safe, secure and loved. When those needs are not met, we experience distress. This distress is carried forward in life when not dealt with or reconciled. We then look to others to meet our needs, we get into the wrong relationships or tolerate poor relationships. We want others to fill the gap left by our past. We don’t honour ourselves and, our boundaries end up being too low or too high.
Too high we have a barrier, a fortress no one can penetrate. We wear a mask and, we have a veneer that doesn’t reveal our true self. We don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
Too low and we have no limits, we please others, put their needs ahead of ours. All to get us the attention, love and desire we so crave that was missing from our past.
To soothe the distress from the past as well as looking to others to fix this, we may turn to other outlets to numb the pain; alcohol, drugs, shopping, sex, all can help us to escape the reality of our own feelings.
So how do we fix this, for ourselves? How can we set healthy boundaries?
- Start with you, we teach others how to treat us
- Say what you mean and think, in a kind and respectful way
- Stop saying yes when you mean no
- Ask for what you need
- Get vulnerable, show who you really are, let go of the mask
- Let others in and be honest about how you are feeling
- List the people you need to set boundaries with the most and a few steps you will take to do this
- List the boundaries you need most for yourself, self-care starts with you respecting who you are and meeting your own needs
I know it sounds simple, but it’s hard to establish boundaries. Remember they aren’t always fixed and rigid but, they should if set correctly, enrich your life and make you feel happier. Beautiful relationships can flourish with healthy boundaries in place.
Please share this with someone you think needs to hear this. If you need help get in touch, at inflori we deal with all kinds of life dilemmas, with a wealth of experience and support available for you. Follow on Instagram or Facebook for tips and inspiration. We wish you the best of luck finding happiness and love, life is to short not to shine brightly.
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