Boundaries can be a tricky thing. As guidelines that define how we interact with others, boundaries are all about setting limits and limits can feel so selfish, especially if you were raised in a culture that emphasized service. Don’t get me wrong, serving others is a good thing. However, without proper boundaries—personal rules as to what you will or will not do—it is easy to lose yourself in serving others and end up neglecting your own needs. Aside from being downright overwhelming, this imbalance can cause intense anxiety, deep despair, and utter exhaustion. A personal boundaries checkup can help you find balance in your service to others.
3 Signs Your Personal Boundaries Need Help
1-Inability to say no
When someone asks you to do something that you do not want, or do not have time to do, are you able to say no? Without beating yourself up about it? It is important to realize that you can’t do it all. Give yourself permission to say no when you need to and realize that it is okay. Perhaps your saying no will give someone else a needed opportunity to serve.
Does putting your own needs first fill you with feelings of selfishness and guilt? You, too, have needs and responsibilities to be met and they cannot always be shoved aside to meet another’s needs. It is not selfish to prioritize. When your needs are met, you will have more energy and desire to assist others and you will do so with joy instead of resentment.
3-Feeling overwhelmed and anxious
When our boundaries are not firmly established it is easy to get overwhelmed. There never seems to be enough time or energy to accomplish our goals. If you are feeling the constant weight of anxiety, setting firm boundaries can help you find balance, stability and peace in your life.
Setting reasonable, appropriate boundaries in your relationships with others is really about integrity. Clear boundaries let others know where you stand and help them know how to interact with you. They bring stability and order into life.
Tips for Establishing Appropriate Boundaries
- Look for areas of your life that feel out of control. Are there limits that would help bring order to the situation? Where do you need to give yourself permission to say no?
- Look for any personal needs that are not being met. What needs to happen to prioritize those needs? Are there boundaries that need to be drawn to make this happen?
- Be clear what your boundaries are. Once you have set your boundaries, write them down. This will help clarify your new course in your own mind. Then be sure to clearly communicate your boundaries to others.
- Practice. Living within your boundaries, especially new ones, will take practice. Be gentle with yourself. Reaffirm your commitment to living with integrity and try, try again.
When you live true to your beliefs, needs and goals, your actions are more authentic and your intentions more in harmony with the greatest good. Setting good boundaries helps free you to be your best self and to serve from the heart. Balance is the key and clear boundaries help us find that balance.