Boundaries: Why are they so hard to enforce?

boundaries mindfulness self-awareness Mar 15, 2024

One of the things that my mentoring with many beautiful souls each week highlights is that so many of us struggle with healthy boundaries. We all want to know how to put them in place, honouring ourselves while honouring someone else's needs and wants.

If we fear rejection or have a strong need for acceptance, caring about how others will respond or react makes it all the harder to consider putting boundaries in place. Acknowledging our needs can make us feel demanding or needy, especially if we have worn the badge of honour of being selfless. When others put boundaries in place, we respect them for standing up for themselves and accept them. So, why is it so difficult for some of us to set boundaries?

Mostly, it comes down to a lack of self-worth; we confuse our value with how others see us or how we perceive they see us. When we struggle to see and value our contribution to family, work, and community, we seek validation from external sources. This often leads to pushing our needs aside, self-sacrificing, rescuing others, and even becoming comfortable with suffering. Even the fear of disappointing others or letting them down makes boundary placement difficult.

However, this WILL come at a cost—the cost of exhaustion, compassion fatigue, burnout, depression, self-doubt, and, many times, resentment. In short, the more unsure we are of ourselves and struggle to know our value, the more challenging it is to speak our truth and put boundaries in place.

Once we have healthy self-worth, we become more gentle and less critical of ourselves, and we realise that no one has more value than us and that we do not have more value than anyone else. We are equal, and all needs must be taken into consideration. This helps us see that we are not a burden by having needs; we are finally more in touch with our needs.

If something isn't serving us, we can find better communication methods before it becomes a more significant issue. When we don't speak up, we allow certain things to become the norm, and thus an expectation to continue that way. Pushing it aside doesn't make it go away; it becomes something far more significant than it ever needs to be. Clarity is being kind. Have our words clear so there is no confusion. We owe this to ourselves as much as to those around us.

Speaking our truth takes courage, and it is possible to do so with love and understanding. Avoiding or ignoring it will only push it into another day. It won't bring about any immediate changes and can keep us doing things from expectations, resulting in resentment, which is unhealthy and not serving anyone. Our daily energy is precious, so don't take over things that can be done today. This always helps lessen the anxiety of prolonging the inevitable.

When we can share what's important to us, even if it may not be received well, those around us have the opportunity to understand the real us. Giving a false version of ourselves is unfair and dishonest, not honouring others or ourselves. The best option is to show our realness from a place of love and understanding. Trying to use power and force will likely have a different outcome. Having gentleness with certainty and honouring ourselves will help others see and hear what's important to us.

The truth may hurt, but it does have a chance to heal and be understood. Making it our mission to be authentic helps us have boundaries in place. This way, we can love ourselves, and others will have the chance to love the real us, boundaries and all. This creates an opportunity for mutual respect and understanding. This becomes sustainable and a way to enjoy living mindfully while embracing boundaries!

Walk a Little With Rosie

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