Boundaries are Healthy — Why You Find It Hard to Set and Uphold Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries are Healthy — Why You Find It Hard to Set and Uphold Healthy Boundaries boundaries are healthy — why you find it hard to set and uphold healthy boundaries
Photo by Yann Allegre on Unsplash

Boundaries outline what we can and what we cannot tolerate in life. When we have, understand and uphold healthy boundaries we have more freedom to live and express ourselves. It is so counterintuitive that you might think boundaries limit your freedom yet in the actual sense, having boundaries is freedom. Let me share with you a simple analogy I pulled from the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown.

There’s a story of a school located next to a busy road. At first the kids played only on a small strip of the playground, close to the building where the adults could keep their eyes on them. But then someone constructed a fence (boundary) around the playground. Now the kids were able to play anywhere and everywhere in the playground. Their freedom, in effect, more than doubled. That’s a great example that demonstrate boundaries are liberating and lack of boundaries is confining. (McKeown, p.169)

People might also think that having boundaries is a sign of weakness and that you should be strong enough not to have these limits. Boundaries are so empowering and they protect your life from being hijacked either consciously or unconsciously by someone’s else’s needs. Abusive people love stepping and constantly poking on things you stand for so that they can meet their needs. The more you are that kind of person who can uphold your boundaries, the more you will live a life where you don’t have to worry about other people as you deeply understand how you deserve to be treated and no one can take advantage of you. You will just be living so authentically and you will not be easily manipulated. Boundaries will just demonstrate you’re in control of your life, and they’re not fixed as you can adjust them as it suits you. When you know what’s acceptable and what’s not, you will have a healthy relationship with yourself. Setting boundaries will involve a lot of saying no even when you or they feel uncomfortable. That’s why it’s not easy to set and uphold boundaries because of a number of factors which I am going to share in this article.

Why You Have Hard Time Setting Boundaries

1. Low Self-esteem

When you have low self-esteem, it will mean that you will lack the assertiveness and the ability to stand for yourself especially when someone steps on your boundaries. You will let other people walk over you as they wish because you just don’t have the capacity to raise that voice and even tell those people to stop. Low self-esteem will also mean you’re deeply insecure to the point that you cannot rely on yourself to protect your own needs or even identify your needs. This deep feeling of inadequacy will also make you feel that you’re not worthy of happiness and anyone can do as they wish in your space.

2. Social conditioning

We’re all conditioned in one way or the other and all this depends on our environment. We accept and follow norms set by the society without even questioning why we do it in the first place. Our culture and societies emphasize on things like perseverance, respect and self-sacrifice. Living life with this kind of norms deeply ingrained within ourselves means that you will find it really hard to be a little bit ‘selfish’ when it comes to setting and upholding your boundaries. You will find yourself bowing down to every old man or woman on the streets just because you can’t dare face the wrath of the society. To stand up for what you cannot tolerate may at times mean you disrespecting (disrespect here means not showing concern with ‘universally accepted norms’) your elders, your husband or wife which goes contrary to the norms set by society. That’s how the matrix has been designed and if you’re deeply entrenched in this matrix, you will not even have those boundaries as you will want to be so available for everyone and ‘nice’ in the eyes of the conniving society.

3. Familiarity and Upbringing

When you’ve been brought up in an environment where you’ve not been taught or you’ve never seen how healthy boundaries look like, then you will find it really hard to understand or even set those boundaries. You may also be used to being taken advantage of by other people that and you even think that’s how life is supposed to be. This mostly happens in childhood as that’s the learning stage of our life where we pick up behaviors and values from what we see from our caregivers or from how our caregivers treat us. If our boundaries were not respected as a child, there is a higher chance that you will let everyone walk over you in your adult life. The fact that you’re not used to setting and having clear boundaries will also bring a certain familiar feeling of safety and comfort when you don’t have those boundaries. When you lack the awareness and insight of who we are, we will not even know what boundaries mean in the first place.

4. People Pleasing — Always Yes

A people pleaser is someone who will always want to make everyone happy even if it means sacrificing themselves. When you’re a people pleaser, you will never set and uphold boundaries because the more you have those limits, the more it will be hard for you to please other people. You will always compromise and lower your boundaries for the sake of making others happy. You will rarely say no when someone asks you something and will accept everything that’s thrown at you. Boundaries is about prioritizing and understanding your needs but people pleasing is more of giving and giving even if it goes against your values and what you stand for. In fact, no is the shortest sentence that can help you uphold your boundaries but when you worry about upsetting other people’s feelings, that word will not even come out of your mouth.

5. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

When you have this sense that something good might happen when you’re not there and you will end up missing out on that golden opportunity, you will end up not setting boundaries. This is because you just have this perception that you’ll miss out on something big if you cut off those things you cannot tolerate in life. In the relationship spectrum, for example, you might cling on the hope that your partner might change in the future or return to that charming human being they were early on in the relationship or even build the future they’ve been promising you and you don’t want to miss that. This will mean that you will lower or avoid setting those boundaries because setting those boundaries will probably mean you leaving that relationship or upsetting them. So, it’s better to just ignore those boundaries (a little) so that you cannot miss out on that great opportunity. What may also fuel this fear of missing out is when you imagine the future your partner will probably be having with someone else and not you. This will mean you will throw those boundaries out the window.

Boundaries are beautiful and having them shows that you deeply respect your autonomy and your life has depth. Healthy boundaries show that you have a healthy relationship with yourself. The thing with boundaries is that it’s not just about understanding them, it’s being the kind of person who’s aware and can uphold those boundaries. This will of course mean that you should be willing to upset some faces and you will not be everyone’s favorite. That’s why setting and upholding boundaries is all about doing inner work to the point you understand who you’re. This will involve shedding those limiting beliefs that you’ve lived with as a result of your upbringing and your environment. One thing to note is the more you understand yourself and your boundaries, the more you will build deep connections and relationships in life as you will be expressing yourself authentically. If there’s one thing that can keep you away from toxic relationships, it’s being the kind of person who deeply values and understand their boundaries.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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