Setting Boundaries

by Cynthia Bischoff on April 15, 2018

In order to manifest your greatest potential, it is necessary to have effective boundaries—to know where you begin and end; to do what you wish to do and not what you believe is expected of you (something that often creates resentment); to give with real love and not because giving is expected.

In coaching, I sometimes encounter what I call “common boundary myths” among my clients.  Do any of these ideas seem familiar to you?

Myth #1:  If I set boundaries, I will hurt others.

If you set boundaries, you may fear that your limits will hurt someone else, particularly someone who seems to really need you.  For example, let’s say a friend needs you to do a favor for her—but this favor greatly impacts your plans for free time which you have very little of and desperately  need for your own balance.  You are kind to this friend and often help her.

In reality, appropriate boundaries don’t control or hurt anyone.  Saying no to this person who is responsible for getting her own needs met really doesn’t hurt her.  She may have to seek elsewhere to have her needs met, but the question is more for you:  Are you okay not being the one who is rescuing or helping her?  Are you okay not being the one who is needed?

Often, poor boundaries result when a person has a need to feel needed or to be a rescuer of others.

Myth #2:  If I set boundaries, I am being selfish.

One of my clients indicated that she had a deep-seated fear of being selfish, of being interested in her own concerns over those of others.  Her mother had instilled in her a belief that putting herself last was important if she wished to be loving and kind.

Interestingly, having appropriate boundaries actually increases our ability to care for others.  When we give with full awareness and conscious choice, we value ourselves and the other person in the process.

We make a choice to give because it is what we want to do, not what we believe we must do.

If a lack of boundaries causes us to mismanage our own energy, our own soul, then saying no is an important way to protect ourselves and each other.

Myth #3:  If I set boundaries, I may be rejected.

Often we participate in “people pleasing” as a way to be loved. We may fear that we are not nice enough and that, as a result, someone may reject or leave us.  This can create a false presence in that we are presenting one way and yet feeling another.  We may even end up feeling resentful.

Having good boundaries with others is a necessary and natural component in all effective relationships.

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