Why Setting Boundaries Isn't Selfish
Updated: Feb 5
I had no clue how to set and keep boundaries until very recently. If I'm being honest, I didn't even know what they were!
I have a feeling that I might not be the only one, so I wanted to share a bit of what I'm learning through my recent experiences.
Boundaries separate where you end and someone else begins. They protect your uniqueness as an individual who has valid emotions, thoughts, likes and dislikes. Boundaries have a foundation in honesty, and that's why they can be hard to set and keep.
We often want to be liked by others and receive their approval and validation. In order to get that, we are willing to betray ourselves by saying and agreeing to things that are not aligned with our inner values and truth, distancing ourselves further and further from who we really are.
In my last relationship, I kind of lost myself in the person I was with. For the most part, I liked what he liked, his thoughts became my thoughts and I agreed with what he said to avoid uncomfortable conversations, because the thought alone of conflict would make me squirm.
I look back at that experience with so much compassion and gratitude for the opportunity for growth. It's hard to know how to show up in ways that we haven't been modeled growing up, so experiencing it was the only way for me to know better. Loosing myself only brought me closer to myself.
Boundaries mean that you put yourself first. Not in a selfish way, but in way that you understand that your needs are valid and important. After all, the way we show up in the world is a clear reflection of how we show up for ourselves, so in order to truly care for others we must care for ourselves first. We can't give what we don't have!
I think honesty and communication are the foundation for good boundaries. First and foremost, you get to be honest with yourself. Reflect. How does a certain situation make you feel? Are you saying/doing something because you think it's the appropriate thing in order for others to like you, or because your soul aligns with it? Do your decisions make you feel anxious or do they make you feel light? While our minds can be deceiving, the body does not lie. It's all about starting to listen!
With awareness comes choice. Once you start to become aware, you have the choice to honor your feelings. Boundaries create deep self-trust and self-love, because when you choose to trust and honor yourself, you're sending a clear message to your subconscious that you matter.
Once you're honest with yourself, you get to find the courage to be honest with others, even if it feels uncomfortable. It may feel overwhelming at first, but remember that small daily steps lead to big changes.
With boundary setting also comes the opportunity to practice self-validation. People may not like or agree with you, and that's ok. You'll begin to realize that even if someone else does not understand the complexity and depth of who you are and how you're choosing to express, your experience is yours alone. It is based on your perception of reality, formed by years of your own unique experiences of the world! And this is not to say that you're right all the time. You may not be. Your point of view may be limited only to what you know right now. You may be operating from your stories vs. facts. But nonetheless, your experience is certainly valid!
We get to keep an open mind and heart, honor other people's views (because they are unique just like you!) AND trust ourselves.
When we let go of the need to get everyone's validation and approval, we set ourselves free. We are who we are and that's enough. I believe that to be such a beautiful opportunity to experience the most deep and profound love that there is. We give others the chance to love us for who we truly are rather than who we think they want us to be, and that's the precious gift of intimacy. Into me you see.
"Walls keep everybody out. Boundaries teach people where the door is." - Mark Groves