Boundaries are an essential part of everyday life whether that’s with your partner, family, friends, colleagues or even yourself. They reflect your personal values and can look different for everyone, but their main purpose is to ensure you feel safe and comfortable in these relationships and prevent conflict, burn-out or disrespect.
Despite understanding the importance of them, you may still struggle to implement boundaries in your daily life, here are some reasons why this may be.
Low Self-esteem and Co-dependency
Both of these traits often go hand in hand and usually mean you lack trust in your own decisions and look for validation in others. Whilst trying to set a boundary, you may feel like it might upset the other person or doubt if it’s really even necessary. Someone else’s opinion and well-being will come before your own, so you will avoid setting boundaries to please others.
Everyone will have different capacities, so it is important to know that even if someone would not agree with the boundaries you have set, they are still necessary for you. Prioritise your well-being and do not look to other people for guidance, you know yourself better than anyone else!
Social pressure and FOMO
FOMO (fear of missing out) has become a lot more normalised with the rise of social media and everyone sharing their every move. This can lead to a constant need of inclusion and involvement within your social group to avoid “missing out” on experiences that are probably not as important as you think. The expectation of being available at all times is also becoming increasingly common. You can now contact almost anyone with the touch of a screen in a split second, but this does not mean you have to, even if you have the time to do so. You should not be expected to give all your free time to people so it’s best to assess when it may be necessary to take a break and stay away from anything that will drain your energy instead of replenishing it.
Setting boundaries can be extremely difficult if you are constantly seeking perfection in all aspects of your life. You may feel shame or guilt if you are presented with a task that you are unable to do at that moment in time and start to perceive this as failure. Imposing such unrealistic standards causes unnecessary pressure and the inability to say no to yourself, as well as others. Understand that it may not be in your capacity to do everything you are asked of, and that it’s fine to take a break and step back when you feel overwhelmed.
You should not live to serve those around you, be perfect or push your limits to the point of burn-out. Take a look at your situation from a different perspective and unlearn the habits and thought patterns that may be preventing you from setting important boundaries. Value your time and energy and only spend it on what’s important to you, not what you feel obliged to do.