I’ve recently been reading books on boundaries. Mostly on the lack of them, and what that creates. This subject interests me because I feel I haven’t got established, healthy boundaries in my life, and I know that it is not having a positive effect on my relationships, my health and my finances. There are many reasons why people do not have healthy boundaries, and these range from their upbringing to having low self-esteem and self-worth.
In intimate relationships, having no boundaries means that you often find yourself going without what you need or desire, because you have not established clear expectations or rules. And even when you find your unspoken boundaries being crossed, you find it difficult to say anything, and so let it slide. This can create a lot of resentment or anger that will no doubt build up until it comes out in an argument, at which point, your partner will be surprised because they will have been unaware that they had crossed the line or upset you with their behaviour. It can also mean that you allow your partner to do things that you would not normally find acceptable.
In friendships, having no boundaries means that whenever your friends call, you’re available. Whatever time suits them to meet, you’re free for that time. You fit into their schedules, they do not fit into yours. Mainly because people with no boundaries often have no schedules and no routine, so they fit in wherever they need to and go with the flow. While going with the flow can be a good thing, if there is no structure at all, you will find that absolutely nothing will get done.
In health, having no boundaries means that you will accept food you are offered even if you don’t want it, or people will find it acceptable to comment on your diet. Having no routine means that exercise is often not in the picture, and you’re so busy running around catering to everyone else’s needs and demands, that you have no time to take care of yourself properly.
In finances, having no boundaries means you will accept lower rates of pay, or not charge enough for your services, or will be too relaxed on clients when it comes to payments, or being disorganised when it comes to invoices, doing your taxes, or making sure you have enough cash flow. Having no structure means not keeping track of income and outgoings, and getting into debt more easily.
I have had many of the above issues in my life, and it is only recently, becoming aware of my patterns, that I realise I need to make some changes to improve my life in every way. My only issue is this – I haven’t had boundaries for most of my life. I have no idea what it feels like to have boundaries, to express them clearly and to enforce them when needed. I have read a lot about the lack of boundaries and the problems this causes, and even about the actions to take to create new boundaries. But it feels like I would need to have a personality transplant in order to become a person with clear boundaries. I don’t find it easy to create new habits, and to have set routines and structure, so this feels like quite an epic journey to embark on.
I am excited to see what changes from having this awareness, and from making whatever changes I can to ensure I don’t allow my new boundaries to be crossed.
One of my concerns in becoming a person with boundaries is that I may appear to be mean. In that I am likely to say ‘no’ more often, in maintaining my boundaries. I will also be less available and will ask others to fit into my schedule rather than just automatically fitting into theirs. It feels as though there is a fine line between being mean and being sensible, and it is something I am going to have to experiment with over the coming weeks. Many people without boundaries are people-pleasers, wanting to do whatever they can to make others happy and to gain their approval.
If you have any stories to share about this, or if you have any magical suggestions to becoming a boundaried person, I would love for you to comment below!